More hospitals institute visitor restrictions as flu cases increase
ONEIDA COUNTY, N.Y. (WKTV) - The fast-spreading flu virus in Oneida County is prompting several local hospitals to restrict visitors and some are even asking visitors to wear masks, and use hospital-provided hand sanitizer when they enter and leave the building. On Monday, Faxton-St. Luke's Healthcare began restricting visitors to ages 18 and above. In the maternity and pediatrics departments, visitors are limited to parents, grandparents and birthing coaches. At St. Elizabeth Medical Center, visitors must be 18 or older. Rome Memorial Hospital is imposing the same age and maternity and pediatric restrictions, but is also asking all visitors to wear masks, and use hospital-provided hand sanitizer when they enter and leave the facility. All four hospitals are asking anyone with upper respiratory symptoms to stay away. St. Elizabeth Medical Center and Rome memorial enacted their restrictions late Tuesday afternoon. Officials at St. Elizabeth Medical Center were moved into action by the amount of flu activity in their own hospital this week. "We had been seeing several flu cases over the last few weeks, but in the last seven days, we had an increase, about a four-fold increase in the amount of influenza we were seeing," said Heidi Coluzza, RN, BS, BC, Director of Infection Prevention at St. Elizabeth Medical Center. Each facilities restrictions are until further notice.