Loved ones prepare for hospital visitor restrictions

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Starting Monday, local hospitals will start temporary visitor restrictions due to a serious outbreak of the flu. Marion County recorded its first death from the flu last week, one of eleven statewide. As a result, the Marion County Health Department, in partnership with other health organizations, are implementing the policy to protect patients and staff.

Eyewitness News visited Eskenazi Hospital Sunday and caught up with some families affected by the changes.

Joe Masters and his family are rolling up to Eskenazi Hospital for a very difficult visit.

"I just come to visit my mother-she's not doing real well," said Masters.

That's why he made a point to bring his 15-year-old daughter today to visit her grandmother because tomorrow new visitor restrictions go into effect here.

According to the temporary policy, You can't visit if you're a child under 18, an adult with any flu-like symptoms including a cough, fever, muscle aches, sore throat. You also cannot visit if you aren't immediate family.

"It's good, you gotta try to stay healthy. I don't have a problem with it," said Masters.

"We're going to go visit her uncle. They're very close. He asked for her directly. That's his favorite niece," said Ashley Sweatt.

And Sweatt is just learning about the policy that will mean this is the last visit for her daughter for a little while.

"If I was sick and my child wasn't able to come visit me. That's my comfort zone. That's my peace. I would rather my children be there with me," said Sweatt.

"But, do you understand the other side of it," asked Eyewitness News.

"Yes, because you don't want them to get sick or be vulnerable to any diseases or anything that's out there," said Sweatt.

"I'm gonna call and see how he's doing if I can't see him for a few weeks," said Jalien Hampton.

Kristen Lyons is in a different boat. Her husband is a chaplain here and she and her three children regularly attend his worship services. But, not after today.

"It's a short time. It's probably at most a couple months. I think that's what the hospital determines is best for their patients. So, I don't think it would be a--It would be a minor inconvenience for us," said Lyons.

A minor inconvenience to avoid the spread of a major illness.

Eskenazi and Riley Hospital for Children start their restrictions tomorrow. Other Marion County health centers will start theirs on Wednesday.

Hospitals say they will consider exceptions to the policy on a case-by-case basis.