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IU Health, Wishard, VA to lift flu-related visitor restrictions Feb. 8

Feb. 7, 2013

Visitor restrictions put in place last month at all Marion County hospitals, including IU Health hospitals and Wishard Health Services, will come to an end as seasonal flu activity decreases. According to Marion County Public Health Department Director Dr. Virginia Caine, regular hospital visitation policies will resume Friday, Feb. 8.

The visitor restriction policy was implemented by all Marion County hospitals Jan. 18 at the recommendation of Dr. Caine after flu activity reached its highest level since 2009. The hospitals agreed to implement the least restrictive option of the 2009 Patient Visitation Tier 1 Policy developed by the Indianapolis Coalition for Public Safety during the H1N1 epidemic.

“Over the past two weeks, flu activity in Marion County has leveled off and then dropped significantly,” Dr. Caine said. “Even though hospital visitor restrictions will be lifted, it is important to remember that flu season does not end until April 1. Everyone must continue to protect themselves and others against the flu, such as good hand washing and covering a cough. Also, it’s not too late to get a flu shot.”

During the week of Jan. 27 to Feb. 2, Marion County hospitals reported 401 emergency department visits for influenza-like illness, or 4 percent of all visits. This compares to the previous week, Jan. 20 to 26, when hospitals reported 490 emergency department visits for influenza-like illness, representing 4.96 percent of all visits that week.

Among the hospitals affected by the restrictions were IU Health North, IU Health Methodist Hospital, IU Health Saxony, IU Health University Hospital, IU Health West, IU Health Simon and Bren Cancer Center, and Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, Wishard Health Services and the Richard R. Roudebush VA Medical Center.

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