Visitor restrictions at Savannah area hospitals due to flu

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – It’s that time of year, the holidays, yes. But there is something else and it’s the time of year for flu cases

In Savannah, both St. Joseph’s Candler and Memorial Hospitals are restricting visitors.

“The point of the policy is really to protect everybody. We want to protect our patients, we want to protect our visitors and also our employees,” said Rita Allen who is the Infection Preventionist at St. Joseph’s Candler.

The restrictions come at a time when flu cases statewide are trending higher than normal.

Allen says if you have flu-like symptoms you might be endangering a patient who is already sick and whose immune system is compromised

You have ill patients in the hospital and you have also a place where a lot of people are gathering so there’s a lot of traffic and something like the flu can spread quickly when a lot of people are around,” said Allen. “I know sometimes we want to visit those that are in the hospital to give them more comfort and just sometimes it’s not a good idea especially when you are ill and then those under 18 we would prefer not to visit.”

Memorial hospital also announced it has put a more restrictive visitors policy in place which includes the following:

** Individuals who are experiencing cold symptoms should not enter patient care areas at Memorial. All visitors should be healthy. No one with flu-like symptoms will be permitted in patient rooms. Flu-like symptoms include fever, coughing, sneezing, sore throat, or upset stomach.

** Anyone coming into the hospital with flu or cold symptoms should wear a mask. Masks will be available for those who need them.

** Family members and guests 18 years of age and under will not be allowed to visit patients. Special consideration for sibling visits will be considered on a case-by-case basis if there are no symptoms.

Candler’s announcement said the “cases started increasing in November and for the last three weeks patients with influenza-like illnesses at our hospitals have been above the state baseline.”

The Candler policy includes:

** Do not visit any patients at St. Joseph’s Hospital or Candler Hospital patient if you have any signs or symptoms of influenza.

** Children under the age of 18 are not permitted to visit any patients at St. Joseph’s Hospital or Candler Hospital.

** Those under the age of 18 cannot visit patients at the Telfair Birthplace at Candler Hospital unless they are the primary caretaker.

** Only children seeking treatment should come to the hospitals.

** Children under the age of 18 are not permitted to wait for family in any waiting area.

** Patients can only receive two visitors at a time.

Candler’s policy covers Candler, St. Joseph’s and its new facility in Pooler.

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