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12/20/19news article

visitor restrictions to begin to limit spread of respiratory infections

number of flu cases growing

The Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association (GDAHA) announced today that area short-term acute care hospitals will implement visitor restrictions beginning December 23, 2019 in an effort to minimize the spread of respiratory infections to hospital patients, employees and the community.

Due to the early and increased local presence of the seasonal flu virus, the region’s hospitals have opted to implement precautionary measures in order to best protect the health of their patients. The Dayton region has seen an increase in flu activity over the past two weeks. Since December 1, 2019 there have been 30 hospitalizations in the region and an increase of 75% in outpatient cases.

The visitor restriction policy for area acute care hospitals are:

  • No visitation by anyone who is ill with any respiratory symptoms including coughing, fever, chills, headache, vomiting, sore throat, muscle aches or diarrhea.
  • No visitation by anyone under the age of 14.

“We respectfully ask the public to follow these new guidelines during flu season, which lasts through March 2020,” said Sarah Hackenbracht, President & CEO of GDAHA. “The seasonal restrictions include not permitting children under the age of 14 in the hospital for visitation purposes or anyone who exhibits flu or cold symptoms,” she said.

Hackenbracht indicated that the GDAHA Infection Control Committee will continue to meet weekly to review reported flu cases and flu-related hospitalizations to see if visitor restriction recommendations should be changed or modified.

“Children are particularly likely to carry viruses since they are heavily exposed in the school setting. With these guidelines, we hope to minimize exposure in the hospital,” Hackenbracht said.

Visitation restrictions do not apply to children or adults in need of services.

“The action of restricting visitors exhibiting respiratory symptoms, including a fever, coughing and sneezing, and children under the age of 14 is a precautionary measure,” Hackenbracht continued. “Flu season is underway, and hospitals want to ensure they can keep unnecessary contamination away from patients whose immune systems are compromised. It is also important to help keep nurses and other patient care employees healthy so that they can take care of the patients,” she added.

There are also exceptions for special circumstances.

“The visitation restrictions are being implemented with the utmost sensitivity and respect to patients and their families,” Hackenbracht explained. “Doctors, nurses and other hospital personnel will work with patients on a case-by-case basis to ensure that patients receive the support needed, especially if there is a situation where end of life may be a concern.”

GDAHA and its member hospitals have committed resources to protect patients and employees from respiratory infections, which includes the seasonal flu virus. GDAHA works closely with area health departments and member hospitals on these types of health issues.

For more information on flu prevention and treatment, visit www.flu.gov.

The Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association (GDAHA) is a member-service organization representing 29 hospitals and health systems in the Dayton region.  GDAHA collaborates with its members to improve the delivery of healthcare services in Auglaize, Butler, Darke, Champaign, Clark, Greene, Miami, Montgomery, Preble, Shelby, and Warren Counties in West Central Ohio.

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