Hospitals restrict visitors due to H1N1 virus

Nov 03, 2009 at 02:11 pm by Observer-Review


Hospitals restrict visitors due to H1N1 virus

TRI-COUNTY AREA—In response to the H1N1 virus, area hospitals, like Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hospital and Schuyler Hospital, are limiting visitors.
Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hospital, as well as Geneva General, will implement a visiting policy as of Friday, Nov. 6.
Loree MacKerchar, community relations for Soldiers and Sailors, said Finger Lakes Health is currently finalizing a policy regarding visitors based on the increased incidence of illness in the communities.
“We anticipate implementation of an altered visitor policy early next week,” she explained.
No one under the age of 18 will be allowed to any patient units at any of the facilities. Additionally, the number of visitors to any patient, on any unit, will be limited to two at a time. MacKerchar explained exceptions would be considered and discussed with hospital managers and the infection prevention team.
She said that no one should visit if they are have a cough, fever, sore throat or muscle aches. Patients will be asked to wear a mask if they have symptoms during their visit. She added masks and hand sanitizer have been available for several months at the hospital entrance, as well as other areas, for those experiencing symptoms.
Schuyler Hospital is taking all necessary precautions, as required by the New York Department of Health, and in concert with a regional consortium of healthcare agencies.
Effective Oct. 29, Schuyler Hospital has been restricting children under the age of 18 and anyone feeling ill from visiting patients, including family members—in order to protect patients, family, visitors, and staff.
According to Michelle Benjamin, community relations director for Schuyler Hospital, patients with flu-like symptoms are being redirected from the hospital’s main emergency entrance to a separate entrance —the ambulance entrance at the opposite side of the department. Between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., patients should continue using the Main Emergency Entrance, where they will then be redirected as appropriate for treatment.
Masks and alcohol hand cleansers are on hand at all entrances to the hospital. Hand washing is strongly encouraged as the best precaution against the spread of the flu virus.
Benjamin said additional procedures may be altered to comply with regulations, and to protect patients, residents, staff and community.
For seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccines, community members are urged to contact their family physician, attend a public health clinic, or make an appointment at Schuyler Hospital’s Primary Care Center by calling 607-535-7154.


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