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January 11, 2013

Influenza A widespread, peaking early

Hospitals restricting visitors

WASHINGTON — The Centers for Disease Control is touting this winter as one of the worst for influenza cases in several years, with a growing number of cases in at least 41 states.

In Daviess County, there’s been a growing number of flu cases treated at Daviess Community Hospital since late December, according to DCH marketing manager Mary Smith.

“From Dec. 28 to Jan. 8, we had 17 positive cases treated at the hospital,” she said. “Patients range in age from 8 months to 94 years and are both male and female.”

Daviess County Health Nurse Kathy Sullender said flu cases are widespread throughout the county, with the elderly being particularly hard hit. She said not everyone with symptoms has been tested, but those who have all had Influenza A.

The increase in flu cases is a concern for patients at the hospital, and DCH CEO David Bixler said, effective immediately, DCH is discouraging people from coming to the hospital unless they are coming to receive treatment.

“We ask that patient family and friends delay visiting patients unless absolutely necessary,” he said in a press release. “If you do visit, please wear a mask as needed and use hand sanitizer upon entry to the hospital and a patient room.”

In addition, the free blood sugar and blood pressure screening event set for Wednesday in the hospital lobby has been cancelled.

“We want to do everything we can to protect our patients,” Bixler said..”Our goals are to help people in our community recover from the flu and to stop the flu from spreading.”

Good Samaritan Hospital in Vincennes also is restricting visitor guidelines to protect patients and staff. Only two visitors per patient will be allowed; anyone 18 and younger or with a respiratory illness is discouraged from visiting the hospital, including common areas; and anyone with flu-like symptoms or who’s been exposed to someone with flu-like symptoms is asked not to visit the hospital.

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Lindsay Owens | Times Herald

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