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GHS, AnMed Health restricting patient visits because of flu

Staff Report //January 11, 2018//

GHS, AnMed Health restricting patient visits because of flu

Staff Report //January 11, 2018//

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Greenville Health System is restricting patient visits to those over 18, except under special circumstances, because of what the hospital calls the “rapidly spreading flu” in the Upstate. AnMed Health in Anderson is asking visitors to voluntarily stay away from the hospital for the same reason.

The hospitals are not asking those in need of medical attention to stay away from their facilities. The restrictions are in place for those seeking to visit patients.

GHS said children approved to visit will be asked to wear masks to help prevent transmission of possible respiratory illness. Flu and other contagious respiratory illnesses can unknowingly be transmitted for several days prior to the first symptoms appearing, according to GHS.

AnMed Health reports its emergency department staff is working with an “unusually high number patients with flu or gastrointestinal distress.” AnMed infection prevention specialists urge visitors to take precautions to avoid spreading influenza and other respiratory illnesses. Precautions to prevent spread of gastrointestinal distress are similar: keep hands washed and limit contact with other people.

“Flu levels are increasing throughout our area, and we need to take these additional steps to help protect the health and safety of our patients,” said Dr. Robin LaCroix, medical director of GHS Children’s Hospital, in a news release. “Flu can cause serious complications and even cause death. We ask that everyone continue to take steps to help keep themselves healthy over the flu season, including getting flu shots and practicing good hand hygiene such as frequent hand washing. We appreciate everyone’s help in helping protect our patients as well as the community at large.”

GHS reported more than 623 positive flu cases for the week ending Dec. 31, 2017, with 34 people being admitted to a GHS hospital in that time frame. The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control has reported nine deaths statewide as of Dec. 30, 2017.

GHS said its visitation protocol would continue until the level of flu abates in the Upstate. Regardless of age, GHS asks that visitors suffering from respiratory illness delay visiting patients until such time as symptoms are resolved.

The additional precaution is being taken at all hospitals throughout GHS, including Greenville Memorial Hospital, Children’s Hospital, Greer Memorial Hospital. Hillcrest Memorial Hospital, Laurens Memorial Hospital, North Greenville Hospital, Patewood Memorial Hospital and Oconee Memorial Hospital, as well as Baptist Easley and Lila Doyle.