Hospitals issue flu restrictions

Jan. 03, 2014 @ 05:48 PM

Local hospitals and their affiliates are tightening their visitation restrictions due to the recent outbreak of influenza in the state.
Deborah Humphrey, director of communications, said Cone Health began restricted visitation on Friday.
An e-mail released to the public Friday said the health system was asking the community to “help us protect our patients by voluntarily restricting their visitation if they are experiencing symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat, fever and cough.” The e-mail also asked those 18 or younger to “refrain from visiting.”
“You want to err on the side of caution,” Humphrey said. “You ask those who have symptoms or young people to not visit patients as a precaution.”
Humphrey said the hospital usually enforces the restrictions every year.
“It is, indeed, because we are concerned about the safety of our patients,” Humphrey said.
Becky Alley, public relations manager at High Point Regional, said the hospital currently isn’t under restrictions but is monitoring the situation closely.
“We have seen a recent influx in the number of flu cases, but right now we are just watching the situation very closely,” Alley said. “UNC hospitals will began, starting Monday, restricting visitors, but as an affiliate, it is up to us to choose to do that.”
Jane Murphy with Novant Health Thomasville Medical Center said Novant had not issued any restrictions as of Friday, but the company tries to promote healthy visitation throughout the year.
“We do not have anything planned at this time, but we do let all visitors know that if they are symptomatic to please not come and visit,” Murphy said. “We have hand-washing stations posted throughout the facility. We try to encourage good health no matter what the season.”
Statewide, 13 flu-related deaths have been reported, four of those being from Guilford County, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. Those who have died include seven in the 25-49 age group, five in the 50-64 age group and one person 65 or older.
According to public health officials, cases of flu in the state have been relatively low so far this season, but are beginning to increase. Flu season typically peaks during January and February. Complications from the flu can be particularly dangerous for high-risk groups, including infants under 2, pregnant women and people with chronic medical conditions such asthma, diabetes, heart disease or immune system problems.
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