Flu season is about to be upon Wrangell, and last week, Wrangell Medical Center had 183 patients walk through the doors at its annual adult flu clinic.

Kristen Reed is WMC’s development coordinator. She said more people came to this year’s clinic than the past four years WMC has conducted it.

“Yea, actually it was quite a bit busier than the last few years had been, and that was from 1 to 5 [p.m.], so a four hour period. That’s a lot of shots to give,” said Reed. “We hadn’t seen quite those numbers before.”

Reed said there may be several reasons for the uptick such as people being more aware, timing and the Alaska Department of Public Health’s move to itinerate services in Wrangell.

WMC typically holds its adult flu clinic in mid-October and will hold its first clinic for children ages 4 to 17 on Oct. 15. Reed hopes to have as many children registered as possible by Thursday so enough vaccinations can be ordered.

Public Health put age restrictions on those who receive vaccinations and other services beginning in July due to state budget cuts. Children as young as six months and those up to 29 years old will be able to get flu vaccinations when Petersburg’s Public Health Nurse, Erin Michael, visits early next week and in November.

Michael said Public Health would be able to lift the age restrictions if it holds an emergency preparedness exercise in Wrangell.

“That would allow us to help practice our capabilities of dispensing medication, immunization, whatever it may be public health related. Then we have permission to lift those restrictions and provide the flu vaccine or whatever vaccine might be requested,” said Michael.

Michael hopes to hold one during her visit in November and offer the flu vaccine. She said it’s best to call the Petersburg office ahead of regular visits so all the necessary supplies can be brought.

Southeast Alaska saw 201 documented flu cases between last October and September 2016.