Flu patient spikes cause Texas school district closure, tents at California hospital

A Texas school has taken extreme measures to combat the flu.

— -- A deadly flu epidemic sweeping the nation has triggered one Texas school district to cancel classes for the week and one California hospital has set up a triage tent outside an emergency room for flu patients.

Brammer said this flu season is on par with the 2014-2015 season, when more than 700,000 people were hospitalized with the flu and nearly 130 died.

Even otherwise healthy people, across age groups, have succumbed to this year's flu.

Katie Oxley Thomas, a 40-year-old mother of three and a marathon runner from San Jose, California, died 15 hours after being admitted to an emergency room with influenza, her family told ABC station KGO in the San Francisco Bay Area.

"I know that she could hear us and we're saying, 'Katie you can fight this, you can beat it,'" said Thomas' stepmother, Adrienne Oxley.

She said the family had a hard time accepting that she died from the illness.

"We just didn't believe it," Oxley said. "We were in total shock. It's still hard to believe."

"Nico was a very lively, vibrant, spirited kid," Bryan Luizzi, superintendent of the New Canaan Public School District, told ABC News.

At Loma Linda Medical Center in San Bernardino Count, California, the medical staff has erected a triage tent outside the emergency room to handle the influx of flu patients.

In Texas, the influenza outbreak is so severe that the Bonham Independent School District, which has about 2,000 students, canceled classes through Tuesday.

"As the number of confirmed cases of influenza grows, it is important to increase health and safety protocols for each campus, including disinfection of all buses and spaces," the school district wrote in a letter to parents. "Local health officials have recommended a full seven days to stop the cycle of spreading influenza."

The flu epidemic is also taking a toll on the nation's blood supply.

"If you're not feeling well, you should not be giving blood," Sheedy said.

"Right now we're doing everything we can to make sure hospitals have enough blood on their shelves," she added. "We haven't had any indication that surgeries have been postponed."

She encourage healthy people, especially those who have gotten flu shots, to donate blood, and particularly platelets.

"We're asking people to go out and donate blood as soon as possible," Sheedy said. "All blood types are needed."

Brammer said it's not too late for people to get flu shots and the CDC continues to recommend them.

"The best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated, even if we are at the peak of flu season," she said. "There's still weeks to go."