Hospital flu restrictions now in place
Flu restrictions at area hospitals are going into place. Starting Friday, you may not be able to visit someone in the hospital, or you may be asked to re-schedule your appointment at hospitals around the city.
St. Francis Hospital is following citywide restrictions in an effort to reduce the number of flu cases in central Indiana.
That means no one under the age of 18 will be allowed to visit if you're sick with a cough or fever. Hospital officials say it's "too risky."
Hospital staff are taking their own precautions as well.
"We recommend everyone wash their hands," said Claire Roembke, the St. Francis Infection Control Manager. "We place patients we suspect have influenza in isolation so employees who care for them wear a mask, so we are adding to the precautions other than washing hands."
This is the result of a flu outbreak that caused admissions at hospitals to spike, and forced the city and the hospital staff to call for the restrictions in the hopes of preventing further outbreak.
You'll remember the H1N1 outbreak a couple years ago. The restrictions in place and the precautions taken by staff are similar to what we saw then, although the problem this year is not as bad as that outbreak.
Although there are restrictions, there are also exceptions. "We have issues that come up on a regular basis," said Roembke. "So we have a group that meets regularly to talk about these issues so we can be consistent in how we apply them."
You can get a free flu shot today.
The Marion County Public Health Department will hold a flu shot clinic from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Health Department's training center at 4012 North Rural Street.
Technicians will also administer free flu shots at all of the health department's district offices. (See a list of those locations here.)