The flu continues to be a problem across the country, as well as in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan. Local hospitals are being forced to change some of their visiting guidelines and hours.
There is currently no panic at Toledo ProMedica Hospital, but the hospital is taking steps to reduce chances of people catching the flu. Mercy hospitals will also be affected by the decreased visitation policies.
Lucas County Health Department officials say there has been 42 flu cases since November. As the season peaks, area hospitals are hoping those numbers stay down, which is why Ohio and Michigan ProMedica hospitals will no longer allow minors to visit the sick.
The Lucas County Health Department has announced decreased visitation hours, along with limitations on visitors at hospitals and long-term care facilities. Starting Wednesday, no minors will be allowed to visit ProMedica hospitals until further notice. The only exceptions will be with patients who are critically or terminally ill, which will be determined by personnel.
Staff is hoping this precautionary measure will help keep children out of harm's way.
"They don't quite have the immunity. They're in classroom settings, so they have exposures more often," explained Brian Dick, corporate director of ProMedica Infection Prevention and Control.
Mercy is not restricting minor visitation, but does ask anyone who is sick to refrain from visiting.
Visitors who have flu-like symptoms will not be permitted inside ProMedica hospitals and facilities, unless they require medical treatment. Flu-like symptoms are defined as a fever greater than 100 degrees with a cough. ProMedica visitors will also be limited to two per patient at any given time, and all visitors will be asked to follow established hand hygiene procedures when entering and leaving patient rooms.
"We appreciate the cooperation of our visitors in our efforts to help protect the health and well-being of our patients and employees," said Dick.
ProMedica Toledo is offering free vaccinations to hospital personnel.
For more information about the flu, including prevention tips, visit www.cdc.gov.
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