GREENSBORO, N.C. — Moses Cone Hospitals is now restricting anyone 18 years and younger from visiting its hospitals due to the large number of flu cases in the community.
“The flu can be extremely serious or even deadly to people who have underlying conditions such as cancer and kidney disease and to pregnant women,” said Cone Health Chief Clinical Officer Mary Jo Cagle, M.D. “We need the community’s help in keeping the flu away from our patients.”
Cone Health keeps track of the number of people who report having influenza-like symptoms, according to the News & Record. On Dec. 21, about 3.5 percent of patients coming to MedCenter High Point reported having flu symptoms. A week later, that number jumped up to 21 percent. Numbers were similar at other facilities.
According to Good Morning America, 15 children have died from complications of the flu so far this season. That has led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to officially declare the illness an epidemic.
The Cone Health restrictions apply to lobbies, waiting areas and patient rooms of all Cone Health facilities. Visitors to Alamance Regional Medical Center, Annie Penn Hospital, Cone Health Behavioral Health Hospital, Moses Cone Hospital, Wesley Long Hospital and Women’s Hospital are being asked to clean their hands when entering and leaving the hospital. Alcohol gel dispensers are located at entrances and on all hospital units.
While children 18 and younger may not come into Cone Health hospitals during this outbreak, exceptions can be made for special circumstances such as to visit a dying family member. Parents are asked to get permission from their loved one’s nurse to allow children to visit.
Most flu cases run their course in several days and symptoms can be helped with over-the-counter medications. For individuals who experience fever that lasts for several days, Cone Health recommends that they seek the advice of a physician.