Regional flu activity increases has caused local and area hospitals to restrict visitations. Following a recommendation by the Illinois Department of Public Health, Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Lincoln, Decatur Memorial Hospital, Passavant Area Hospital in Jacksonville, Taylorville Memorial Hospital, and HSHS St. John’s have recommended that inpatient hospital visits be limited to two visitors per patient at one time and that all visitors be 18 years old or older and show no signs of illness. Memorial Physician clinics and Memorial ExpressCare services are also taking these extra precautions.
Sue Schleyhahn, Manager of Infection Prevention at Passavant Area Hospital explained that the recent advisory given by the Illinois Department of Public Health is done annually to protect patients and visitors from the spread of infections. “The reason why they do this is because many of our counties are experiencing higher levels of influenza-like illness. That could be individuals who have a fever, a cough, or sore throat – which may or may not be diagnosed as influenza – but these are all circulating viruses within the community.” Schleyhan says that Passavant has only seen 5 cases of influenza so far this season.
Regional flu cases are actually low at the hospitals, but the restrictions are being put in place to further any spread of the virus. HSHS St. John’s has also recommended that if you have any flu-like symptoms, are pregnant, or under the age of 18 to not visit the hospital.
According to CDC data, 20% of all Americans get the flu each year and over the past decade influenza and pneumonia have accounted for 3500 deaths a year in the state of Illinois.