Hospitals in Marion County to Begin Temporary Restrictions for Visitors
For Immediate Release
Dec. 18, 2019
(INDIANAPOLIS) – In response to elevated flu activity, all Marion County hospitals have agreed to implement temporary restrictions for visitors at their facilities beginning Friday, Dec. 20.
Marion County Public Health Department director Virginia A. Caine, M.D. made the request as part of a policy of the Indianapolis Coalition for Patient Safety. The restrictions are designed to protect patients and staff at hospitals during times of increased influenza activity in Marion County.
These temporary restrictions include, but are not limited to:
- 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 health care facility’s website or call in advance about its restrictions and any exceptions.
During the week of Nov. 24-30, 2019, the number of Marion County emergency department visits with a chief complaint of influenza-like illness (ILI) was 3.07 percent of all visits. Countywide visitor restrictions are typically considered when that number is 3 percent or higher. The age group currently most affected by ILI is 0-4 year olds, followed by 5-17 year olds. While numbers dipped slightly Dec. 1-7, 2019, influenza activity is a concern in the local health care community.
Influenza is a respiratory illness that can cause fever, cough, sore throat, body aches and fatigue. Severe complications of influenza infection include pneumonia which can lead to hospitalization and death.
“The most effective way to protect against the flu is to get a dose of seasonal flu vaccine – it’s not too late,” said Virginia A. Caine, M.D., director of the Marion County Public Health Department. “Other recommendations to lower the risk of spreading flu include covering your cough and washing hands frequently and thoroughly.”
People who suspect they are infected with influenza should stay home from work or school and seek evaluation by a medical provider, said Dr. Caine.
Individuals with the highest risk for experiencing complications of influenza include:
- Children less than two years old and adults older than 65.
- Individuals who are immunocompromised.
- Individuals with chronic pulmonary, cardiovascular, renal, hepatic, hematological, and metabolic disorders.
- Individuals who are obese.
- Women who are pregnant or during the first two weeks after giving birth.
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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