Restricted visitation at the hospital

Dec. 22, 2012 @ 12:57 PM

Rutherford Regional Health System (RRHS) this week announced that it is restricting visitation to its hospital facility due to the rise of influenza-like illness statewide and locally, according to a release.

Per its policy, Rutherford Regional restricts visitation when influenza-like illness reports hit the 6 percent mark statewide. The North Carolina State Influenza Surveillance Report, which was updated on Thursday, December 20, showed that reported cases of influenza-like illness had reached the 7 percent mark statewide.

The hospital states that restricted visitation means:

• No children under the age of 12 should visit the hospital at all;

•Only immediate family should visit patients at the hospital;

• Any visitor with signs and symptoms of illness should not visit the hospital at all.

Rutherford Regional’s safety officials began convening in November and have been monitoring an historic rise in flu cases in recent weeks. Over the last two weekly reports, the officials say cases have increased from 2.3 percent to the current 7 percent. This also is the earliest spike in such cases in over a decade. Typically, flu-like cases rise most in February.

“Every year in the United States, on average, 5 to 20 percent of the population gets the flu and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu-related complications,” said Karen Smith, infection prevention director at RRHS. “Some people, such as older people, young children, pregnant women, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications. Restricted visitation helps us protect those who are most vulnerable to contracting flu-like illness.”

RRHS safety officials continue to stress that everyone should remain vigilant in helping prevent the spread of flu by getting an annual flu vaccination; keeping hands washed and clean; covering coughs or sneezes with a tissue or your sleeve; avoiding close contact with others if you think you may have flu symptoms; seeing your doctor if you are very ill; and not travelling or going to school or work while ill.

“We are extremely sensitive to the fact that these restrictions come at a time when some patients may unfortunately be hospitalized over the Christmas holiday,” said Cindy Buck, CEO of Rutherford Regional. “We ask that the public simply help us as much as possible to honor these guidelines for the safety and well-being of our patients and employees.”