URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — Carle Hospital officials said they are seeing a rise in patient care, and the reason people are coming the most is respiratory illnesses.

Urbana Carle employees said they’ve been super busy the last 2-3 weeks. Emergency Department Director Holly Cook said the amount of patients has gone up. 

“We have been seeing over 300 patients a day pretty regularly in the past several weeks,” Cook said.

It’s almost double the number of patients at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana. Cook said the increase in people has also affected workers.

“It’s busy and our staff are working incredibly hard,” Cook said. “They’re doing what they do every single day and every single night, which is working hard to provide the absolute best care they can to every single patient that comes through our doors.” 

Cook says respiratory illnesses like COVID-19, RSV and the flu are bringing people to the ER. She has more than 50 people on staff and 80 treatment spaces. But she said it’s important to know the difference between a severe emergency and symptoms that can be tended to at home.

“Runny nose, mild cough, aches and pains those really can be treated with over-the-counter medication,” Cook said. 

Once those symptoms become elevated you should seek medical attention. Shortness of breath, chest pains and a fever for several days are examples. Cook said primary care physicians should be your first choice but always have a contingency plan. 

“The best place to start would be a convenient care setting,” Cook said. “Carle has multiple convenient care options in the community. We have a convenient care plus option on the main Carle Foundation Hospital campus.”

In the meantime, she said getting back to basics will go a long way to stay healthy during the holidays.

“Wash your hands. If you’re coughing, if you have a runny nose if you just generally aren’t feeling good, maybe rethink those plans you have with big groups with family and friends.”