OSF HealthCare St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington is one of at least three medical facilities in Central Illinois that are asking the public to limit visits due to a spike in flu cases.
“If you are sick don’t come,” Chief Medical Officer Paul Peterson said. “We’ve got enough illness in the hospital. So don’t come, but if you do, please make sure you are appropriately masking if you are sick.”
Peterson said OSF's sites in Bloomington-Normal have confirmed about two dozen influenza cases in the last week.
He added the voluntary restriction will likely stay in effect through the end of March unless the flu season subsides sooner.
“We don’t have widespread influenza yet, and hopefully we won’t, especially if everyone gets vaccinated,” Peterson said.
OSF Heart of Mary Medical Center in Urbana and OSF Sacred Heart Medical Center in Danville have also implemented the voluntary restrictions, according to OSF Media Relations Coordinator Libby Allison.
“Please do not visit hospitalized patients if you are not feeling well, particularly if you have had flu-like symptoms during the past seven days,” Allison said. “Symptoms include a fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, cough, and/or sore throat."
Allison noted the hospital’s visitor limits are based on recommendations from the Illinois Department of Public Health.
She added visitors should be at least 18 years old.
“This will minimize exposure of patients to children, who are known to be high risk for transmission of viral infections, and will protect children from contracting an illness while visiting the hospital,” Allison explained.
Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal and Advocate Eureka Hospital haven’t implemented any formal restrictions.
“We continually monitor the number of influenza cases to determine if and when formal restrictions should be implemented,” Public Affairs Coordinator Lynn Huntley said in a news release.
She added the hospitals ask anyone who may be exhibiting signs of any communicable disease such as cough, cold, fever, body aches, sore throat or nausea to abstain from visiting.
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