Hospitals, clinics strain amid the swine flu surge

The dreaded swine flu is pushing hospital emergency rooms and flu immunization clinics to the brink of their capacity.

The 220 people who sought treatment at Metro Hospital's ER in Wyoming, for example, is a sharp increase over the 140 patients that are average for this time of year, Grand Rapids News reports.

Flu activity is now widespread in 46 states. Even worse, the surge could last up to 10 weeks, according to the CDC.

Nationwide, visits to doctors for influenza-like-illness are increasing steeply, and are now higher than what is seen at the peak of many regular flu seasons. Flu-related hospitalizations and deaths also continue to rise, and are higher than what is expected for this time of year.

But not every hospital is feeling the strain. The extent and severity of the illness varies not only from region to region, but sometimes even among hospitals within the same state, ABC News reports.

For more on the struggle of hospitals:
- read the Grand Rapids News report
- read this ABC News report
- visit the CDC's H1N1 page