Ten hospitals in eastern North Carolina have set visitation restrictions for children due to the flu epidemic. Jared Brumbaugh has more.
To protect patients from potential exposure, Vidant Health announced yesterday that children 12 years of age and younger are prohibited from visiting at this time. The restrictions are in place at all hospitals in the system, except for Vidant Roanoke-Chowan in Ahoskie. Medical Director of Infection Control Dr. Keith Ramsey says the temporary change will be in place until the flu subsides.
“We saw increases in our community, we saw increasing numbers of patients coming into the hospital and so since children are the vectors for these viruses, particularly it gets mixed within the schools and day cares and so forth. That’s why we went ahead and put the restrictions into place at this time.”
Ramsey says they are currently treating 10 people who have been diagnosed with the flu. In addition to Vidant, University of North Carolina Hospitals is also taking precautions by restricting children ages 11 and younger from visiting waiting rooms and inpatient areas. The restrictions are in place at all UNC hospitals, including facilities in Wayne, Lenoir and Johnston counties.
There are no visitation restrictions in place at Onslow Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville or CarolinaEast Medical Center in New Bern. However, Manager for Infection Prevention at CarolinaEast Cathy Fisher says they have put safeguards in place to prevent the spread of flu.
“As we started seeing the numbers grow, we start monitoring for patients and so when patients come in, we put a mask on them the minute they walk in the door basically.”
Since October, nearly 160 patients have tested positive for influenza at CarolinaEast. More than 20 diagnoses were from this past weekend.