More hospitals restrict visiting because of flu


Flu season is in full swing and cases are rising from coast to coast. Indiana and Kentucky are among the worst states in the country, so hospitals are putting the brakes on visitors.

The Center for Disease Control reports widespread flu activity, the highest level, everywhere in the Tri-State.

Dawn Rogers, infection control officer at Deaconess Health, says the hospital has seen flu cases increase by 50 percent over the last two weeks. She reports more than 100 cases now, which has prompted doctors to make changes.

“It protects our inpatients that are here that are not sick,” Rogers said. “Some people can carry that in an unintentionally expose people.”

Deaconess, St. Vincent, Methodist, and other local hospitals want people those showing signs of a cold or flu to stay away. Area hospitals are asking for immediate family only, and no kids under 15 years old.

Local members of the Community Patient Safety Coalition who have implemented visiting restrictions include:

Daviess Community Hospital
Deaconess Cross Pointe Center
Deaconess Gateway Hospital
Deaconess Health System
Deaconess Midtown Hospital
Encompass Health Deaconess Rehabilitation Hospital
Gibson General Hospital, Inc.
Good Samaritan
Heart Hospital at Deaconess Gateway
Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center
Perry County Memorial Hospital
St. Vincent Evansville
St. Vincent Warrick
The Women’s Hospital

Rogers says exceptions for specifics cases can be made. “I don’t want anybody to think we’re just going to kick people out on the street.”

Even people with the flu vaccine are asked to follow hospital restriction rules. Extra steps are being taken for patients with the flu to keep it contained.

“People walking in and out of that room have to wear a mask,” added Rogers.

CDC data shows kids younger than 4 and adults older than 65 are at the greatest risk for flu. Doctors suggest you get checked out if there’s ever a doubt.

This flu season is not as bad as it’s been in the past, especially compared to last year, but you can never be too careful. The simplest way to stay flu-free is to get vaccinated and wash your hands often.

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This story was originally published on February 18, 2019

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