Several WNC hospitals elevate visitor restrictions due to increa - FOX Carolina 21

Several WNC hospitals elevate visitor restrictions due to increased flu activity in NC

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ASHEVILLE, NC (FOX Carolina) -

An Asheville hospital is on high alert and taking precautions due to an increase in reported flu-like illness throughout North Carolina.

Officials with Mission Health said the hospital is elevating its restrictions, effective immediately. Now, only partners and immediate family members over the age of 12 will be allowed in patient care areas.

The visitor restrictions will remain in effect until reports of flu-like activity decrease.

“Our Visitor Restriction Policy protects both our patients and team members by decreasing the risk of spread of influenza throughout the community,” said William R. Hathaway, MD, Chief Medical Officer. “This flu season is now more intense than any since the Swine Flu epidemic of 2009.  It is better for friends and family to call loved ones rather than visit them in the hospital. Implementation of this policy is critical to the health of our community.  And remember, it’s not too late to be vaccinated and everyone with rare exceptions should be.”

Other hospitals in the western North Carolina region are also implementing precautions. Among them are CarePartners in Asheville, McDowell Hospital in Marion, Transylvania Regional Hospital in Brevard, Blue Ridge Regional Hospital in Spruce Pine, Angel Medical Center in Franklin and Highlands-Cashiers Hospital in Highlands. 

Mission Health released the following information as part of a statement on the newly-implemented visitor restrictions on Friday:

Mission Health also urges community members who become ill with symptoms of the flu to contact their primary care provider, seek care at a walk-in clinic like Mission My Care Now, conduct an online visit with a doctor or visit a nearby urgent care facility. It’s important to avoid the emergency department unless there are signs and symptoms of severe illness, as it can expose the patient to other illnesses and expose others to illness as well.

“We understand these restrictions may pose a hardship for some,” said Kathy Guyette, RN, Senior Vice President of Patient Care Services and President of Regional Member Hospitals. “But our utmost concern is for the health and safety of all our patients and our entire community, and we implement restrictions only when absolutely necessary.”

People who have not yet received the influenza vaccine are urged to do so immediately and to ensure that their children have been vaccinated. Children under 12, vaccinated or not, will not be permitted in patient care areas of the hospitals.

Practicing good hand hygiene is the No. 1 precaution individuals can take to protect against the flu virus and other germs. Hand sanitizing stations are available at hospital entrances and throughout the buildings. Individuals can also practice good habits like avoiding close contact with people who are sick, covering your cough, getting plenty of sleep, maintaining physical activity levels, managing your stress, drinking plenty of fluids and eating nutritious food.

Symptoms that could be early signs of the flu include fever, headache, cough, extreme dehydration, lightheadedness and shortness of breath. Treatment with antivirals is the most helpful within the first 48 hours of symptoms presenting. Individuals are urged to contact their primary care provider if they start to experience any of these symptoms or notice them in someone else.

Community members can learn more at mission-health.org/flu. 

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