Visitor restrictions still in place for area hospitals due to flu
Credit: � Royalty-Free/Corbis
Faxton St. Luke's Healthcare (FSLH), St. Elizabeth Medical Center (SEMC) and Rome Memorial Hospital (RMH) are continuing to restrict visitors to adults 18 years of age and older. The restrictions will be in place until further notice. The organizations continue to experience an increase in patients experiencing the flu and flu-like symptoms in both their Emergency Departments and inpatient settings. Since influenza season began, Oneida County has seen 1,542 cases and the influenza activity level throughout New York State has been categorized as widespread. During the week of December 23, 2012, laboratory-confirmed influenza was reported in 56 counties plus New York City. There were a total of 4,348 reports in New York State, which is a nine percent increase over last week. The additional visitor restrictions on the Maternity and Pediatric Units also remain in effect, as these patients are at greater risk of complications due to the flu. Only parents, grandparents and birthing coaches may visit maternity and pediatric patients at this time. We ask that if you are coming to visit a patient and feel ill with any type of upper respiratory problem that you stay at home and delay your visit to keep yourself and our patients and residents safe. The best protection against contracting influenza includes: *Frequent and thorough hand washing. *Covering all coughs and sneezes. If you don't have a handkerchief or a tissue, use the crook of your arm, not your hand. *Staying home from work, school or social events if you have a fever, cough, sore throat, body aches and pains, or other symptoms like nausea or vomiting sometimes associated with influenza. *Avoiding people exhibiting symptoms of a flu-like illness. If you have flu-like symptoms and they are severe and persistent you should contact your healthcare provider. Hospital officials advise against overloading Emergency Departments, Urgent Care facilities and primary care providers' offices at the first sign of a cold. The three organizations also practice "respiratory etiquette" throughout their medical facilities. Disposable masks are available for patients to wear to cover their cough, as well as tissues and hand sanitizer for good hand hygiene. If you are coming to seek treatment and have any flu-like symptoms with upper respiratory problems, you will be asked to wear a mask and may be isolated from other patients.