Flu Activity Remains High in Marion County; 
Temporary Visitor Restrictions Continue at Hospital

For Immediate Release

February 6, 2018                                        

(INDIANAPOLIS) – Flu activity remains high in Marion County and local hospitals continue with temporary restrictions for visitors to help protect patients, staff and other visitors from the flu virus.

The percentage of visits to Marion County emergency departments for influenza-like illness (ILI) during the week of Jan. 29-Feb 3 was 4.5 percent. During last flu season (2016-2017), the percentage of visits to local emergency departments for ILI did not go above 2.3 percent.

While flu season is hard to predict, increased flu activity is likely to last several more weeks and many more cases of influenza are expected.

Temporary visitor restrictions at local hospitals began on Jan. 8 at the request of Marion County Public Health Department director Virginia A. Caine, M.D. As part of a policy from the Indianapolis Coalition for Patient Safety, the restrictions include:

  • No visitors with symptoms of influenza.
  • No visitors under the age of 18.
  • Visitors limited to immediate family as identified by the patient.

Visitors are encouraged to check a hospital’s website or call in advance to learn more about restrictions at a specific location and any exceptions.

Marion County hospitals participating in the temporary visitor restrictions include those within Community Health Network; Franciscan Health Indianapolis; St. Vincent; and Indiana University Health, including Riley Hospital for Children; as well Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital and Richard L. Roudebush V.A. Medical Center.

Dr. Caine urges everyone age 6 months and older to get a flu shot – it’s not too late. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. To learn how to get a low-cost flu shot from the Marion County Public Health Department, call 317-221-2122 or visit MarionHealth.org.

Other preventable actions regarding flu include:

  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs can spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

The Indianapolis Coalition for Patient Safety is comprised of chief executive, medical, nursing, quality, safety, and pharmacy officers from six Indianapolis health systems. In addition, there is participation by entities such as Eli Lilly, Indiana and Purdue Universities, Butler University, the Regenstrief Institute, Inc., Indiana Hospital Association, Indiana State Department of Health, and the Marion County Public Health Department. The coalition is a non-profit public charity organization.

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Media Contact:
Curt Brantingham 
Media/Public Information Coordinator 
317-221-2316 (o) │ 317-525-7450 (c)

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