Capital Region hospitals tightening visitation guidelines because of flu

Thumbnail image for albany medical center exteriorHospitals around the region announced temporary visitation guidelines Friday because of widespread flu activity. From the joint press release:

Patient units of Albany Medical Center; Ellis Medicine acute care hospitals including Bellevue Woman's Center and Ellis Hospital; Glens Falls Hospital; St. Peter's Health Partners acute care hospitals including Albany Memorial Hospital, Samaritan Hospital, St. Mary's Hospital (Troy), St. Peter's Hospital, and Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital; and Saratoga Hospital will request that visits be restricted by:
+ children 12 and under (who are more likely to have and transmit respiratory infections);
+ any visitor with respiratory symptoms (fever, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath) a rash or diarrhea; and,
+ only two visitors will be permitted in a patient's room at one time.
The hospitals are also urging all visitors to use hand-washing stations before entering and upon leaving a patient's room. Hand sanitizers are available at many hospital entrances and at many other locations throughout these hospitals, including the doorways of many patient rooms.

Full release post jump.

As if the flu wasn't bad enough this year, the dreaded norovirus also seems to be in circulation. Headline no one wants to read: "Is it the flu or norovirus? How to tell the difference". Followed closely by: "Want to avoid spewmageddon? Here's a simple guide" [Boston Globe] [Guardian]

We'll say it again: If you're sick, please stay home if possible. Please cough into your elbow. And please wash your hands.

Earlier: Someone finally sticks it to Andrew Cuomo. (It being a flu shot -- and you should think about getting one, too.)

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Capital Region Hospitals Announce New Visitation Guidelines to Protect Patients from Flu
January 11, 2013 - Enhanced visitation guidelines are being implemented at several regional hospitals to further protect patients from influenza and other infectious diseases. Implementation of the new guidelines will begin today at some of the hospitals and on Monday for others.
Patient units of Albany Medical Center; Ellis Medicine acute care hospitals including Bellevue Woman's Center and Ellis Hospital; Glens Falls Hospital; St. Peter's Health Partners acute care hospitals including Albany Memorial Hospital, Samaritan Hospital, St. Mary's Hospital (Troy), St. Peter's Hospital, and Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital; and Saratoga Hospital will request that visits be restricted by:
+ children 12 and under (who are more likely to have and transmit respiratory infections);
+ any visitor with respiratory symptoms (fever, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath) a rash or diarrhea; and,
+ only two visitors will be permitted in a patient's room at one time.
The hospitals are also urging all visitors to use hand-washing stations before entering and upon leaving a patient's room. Hand sanitizers are available at many hospital entrances and at many other locations throughout these hospitals, including the doorways of many patient rooms.
Some hospitals have special care units or physical layouts which may have additional visitation restrictions.
The same guidelines, which were developed and temporarily implemented in 2009 during the H1N1 flu epidemic, are being implemented again as influenza (mainly Type A-H3N2) is widespread across the state.
As such, area hospitals are experiencing a significant increase in patients presenting in the emergency department with respiratory and/or influenza-like symptoms. These temporary restrictions are intended to help limit the transmission of the virus and protect the health and safety of patients and the professionals who provide their care during the outbreak.
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