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With flu on the rise Tri-County Health Care limits patient visits effective immediately

Due to a recent uptick in the occurrence of the flu, Tri‐County Health Care is restricting hospital visitors to immediate family over the age of 18 and only if visitors are free from flu symptoms.

Effective immediately, Tri‐County Health Care officials are restricting visitors as an appropriate response to the heightened influenza activity occurring locally.

“It is our responsibility to protect our patients and our communities,” said Ben Hess, M.D., Chief Medical Officer.

Because influenza is an airborne virus that spreads by coughing and sneezing, it is important to limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.

“We can all do our part in limiting the spread of influenza by covering our coughs correctly, staying home when sick and washing hands frequently,” said Hess. “It is important to know that adults are actively contagious one day before these symptoms are even noticeable and up to five days after they feel better.”

Although flu symptoms are felt throughout the body, patients with this year’s strain of flu are most often demonstrating symptoms of fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, chills and fatigue. If you have any of the classic flu symptoms, health officials are asking you to stay home, treat your fever, drink plenty of water and get ample rest. However, if you have emergency warning signs, please seek help right away.

Tri‐County Health Care officials are asking for full support of a change that restricts visitors who are 18 years or younger during the remaining influenza season. “We ask that visitors who fall under this age category not visit patients,” said Hess. “This includes siblings, friends or family members.” The restriction applies to our lobbies, waiting areas and patient rooms.

“We recognize these actions may cause disruption to families,” said Hess. “But, it is important to remember that our first priority is ensuring the safest possible environment for patients, staff and the public by minimizing the potential for exposure to the flu.”

Tri‐County Health Care officials support the Center for Disease Control’s recommendations that if you are sick with flu or respiratory symptoms you should stay home until you are fever‐free for 24 hours without the assistance of fever‐reducing medications and your other symptoms are showing noticeable improvement. Tri‐County Health Care staff is confident that people will realize that the small inconveniences they face from these preventative measures are far outweighed by the benefits they offer in preventing the spread of influenza to their friends, families and neighbors.