Hospitals in Marion County to Begin Visitor Restrictions Due to Rising Flu Rates
Published on 05 December 2022 00:00
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 5, 2022
INDIANAPOLIS – In response to a concerning increase in flu activity locally, Marion County Public Health Department Director and Chief Medical Officer Virginia A. Caine, M.D. has requested that hospitals in Marion County begin temporary restrictions for visitors.
As part of a policy developed by the Indianapolis Coalition for Patient Safety, hospitals of all health systems in Marion County have agreed to implement Tier 1 of the coalition’s Patient Visitor Policy beginning Monday, Dec. 5.
The Tier 1 option of temporary visitor restrictions at hospitals includes:
• No visitors with symptoms of influenza.
• No visitors under the age of 18.
• Visitors limited to two immediate family as identified by the patient.
The wearing of masks by hospital visitors will also be required.
Marion County hospitals participating in the temporary visitor restrictions include hospitals within Community Health Network; Franciscan Health Indianapolis; Ascension St. Vincent; Indiana University Health; and Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital.
Visitors should check with a hospital’s website or call the facility in advance to learn more about its specific restrictions and any exceptions. Special arrangements can be made with each facility to allow additional visitors or younger visitors based on circumstances, such as end of life.
“Flu is hitting Marion County hard right now and much earlier than it has in recent years,” said Dr. Caine. “Along with recommending the flu vaccine and encouraging frequent handwashing, these restrictions are part of a multi-faceted effort to help protect the most vulnerable patients in our community from the flu virus, which can cause significant illness and, in certain cases, lead to extended hospitalization or death.”
During the week of Nov. 20-26, the rate of influenza-like illness (ILI) reported in patients at Marion County emergency departments was the highest in 10 years. ILI is defined as a temperature of 100 °F or greater with a cough and/or sore throat. The ILI rate was highest among the 5-17 age group.
Dr. Caine urges everyone age 6 months and older to get a flu shot as the first and most important step for protecting against flu viruses.
Influenza (flu) is circulating with other respiratory viruses including COVID-19 and RSV. The predominant strain of flu currently circulating is the influenza H3N2 strain which typically causes hospitalizations and deaths in the very young or those over age 65.
The Marion County Public Health Department offers low-cost flu vaccine at its district health offices and the ACTION Health Center by appointment. Flu shots are $20 for adults and kids ages 2-18 and is free for children younger than 2 years old.
For locations and hours of the district health offices and ACTION Health Center, call the Marion County Public Health Department’s immunization program at 317-221-2122 or visit MarionHealth.org/immunize.
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 Department of Health, and the Marion County Public Health Department. The coalition is a non-profit public charity organization.
317-221-2316 │ 317-525-7450