Valley hospitals ask ill visitors to stay away - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Valley hospitals ask ill visitors to stay away

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

Some Valley healthcare facilities are asking people suffering from flu-like symptoms to stay away for now.

Mercy Health has put restrictions in place designed to thwart the spread of influenza at its hospitals and care centers in the Valley.

In addition, Salem Regional Medical Center is suggesting that would-be visitors who are feeling ill to instead telephone, email or send a card to friends and loved ones who are hospitalized.

Salem Regional Medical Center offers an e-card from its website at www.salemregional.com.

Individuals who feel they must visit a patient in Salem are asked to request a mask from the lobby receptionist as they enter the hospital.

Signs explaining restrictions have been posted at entrances to St. Elizabeth Youngstown, St. Elizabeth Boardman and St. Joseph Warren hospitals, The Assumption Village, Marian Living Center and Humility House.

“We’re taking these proactive steps to protect our patients and residents,” according to a media release from Mercy Health Foundation Communications Manager, Jonathan Fauvie. “We’re pleased to share that more than 98 percent of Mercy Health employees have received their flu shots this year. We want to limit exposure to the flu for those persons in our care who are already at increased health risk, and to help slow the spread of influenza.”

Mercy Health officials say the following restrictions will remain in effect until influenza subsides:

Individuals who are not feeling well and are symptomatic of influenza should avoid visiting hospitals and skilled nursing facilities. We encourage phone calls, texts and cards for communication. Individuals who come to a healthcare facility when ill are risk infecting friends or family members, healthcare staff and other patients or residents.

No visitors under 14 years of age will be permitted until the flu season ends. Children are exposed to many more germs in schools and daycare facilities, and can easily infect others. Or they can contract the flu by visiting someone in the hospital, skilled nursing home or assisted living facility who has the illness.

A temporary suspension of allowing one family member to stay overnight in the room with a hospital patient until the flu season subsides. Exceptions may be granted in cases of gravely ill or minor (under 18 years of age) patients.

To keep all areas of the hospitals disinfected and sanitized, public areas and waiting rooms are not able to be used for overnight accommodations.

Salem Regional Medical Center is encouraging potential visitors, who are sick, to not visit hospitalized patients. Instead, they are requested to telephone the patient or send an e-card via the medical center’s website at www.salemregional.com. Individuals who feel they must visit a patient should request a mask from the lobby receptionist as they enter the hospital.

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