RRHS lifts restrictive visitation

Jan. 20, 2013 @ 07:18 AM

Due to a drop in flu-like illnesses in North Carolina, Rutherford Regional Health System (RRHS) decided to drop its restrictive visitation regulation.

According to the latest North Carolina State Influenza Report, Friday marked the second-consecutive week that flu-like illness cases dropped below 6 percent. That percentage is the threshold that RRHS uses to implement its restrictive visitation policy.

Hospital officials did say that the RRHS facility would revert to its limited visitation status. According to RRHS, limited visitation at the hospital means:

- children and teens are discouraged from visiting the hospital at all;

- adult visitors and family members should be limited to the next of kin and close contacts;

- visitors who do not feel well are asked not to visit the hospital at all;

- those who do visit are asked to use good cough etiquette by coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the elbow (not into the hand);

- everyone is asked to wash hands or use hand sanitizer thoroughly before and after visiting.

Two weeks ago, the state report indicated that flu-like cases were as high as 10 percent in North Carolina.

There has been no exact number of flu cases reported in Rutherford County, according to the Rutherford County Health Department.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of older people being hospitalized with the flu has risen sharply. That has caused federal officials to make more flu vaccines available.

During a teleconference Friday, CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said that this flu season is "shaping up to be a worse-than-average season," according to the Associated Press.

Figures from the CDC indicate that the flu is widespread in 48 states, with the exception of Tennessee and Hawaii. Friesen said that "overall activity is beginning to go down," but activity is high in 30 states and New York City. That is an increase from 24 states the previous week.

The AP reported that the Food and Drug Administration has allowed the maker of Tamiflu — Genentech — to distribute 2 million additional doses of the medicine that have an older version of package insert.

RRHS officials said there are precautions that can be taken to avoid spreading the flu. Those include:

- 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;

- not traveling or going to school or work while ill.