Temporary Visitor Restrictions to Protect Patients from the Flu

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Update: Visitor restrictions have been lifted, effective February 7, 2013.

January 16, 2013

Due to the high volume of influenza illness, Catholic Health is temporarily restricting patient and resident visitors to persons aged 14 years and older.

This restriction is effective immediately for all hospitals, nursing homes and adult homes and is for the protection of our patients and our young visitors who may be more susceptible to the influenza virus. These restrictions also include the neonatal intensive care units and maternal-child areas at Sisters of Charity Hospital and Mercy Hospital of Buffalo.

The visitor restrictions will remain in effect until it is determined they are no longer needed for patient and visitor safety. Notices will be posted in each facility.

Please note that any person, regardless of age, who is experiencing flu-like symptoms including fever, fatigue, body aches, sore throat or respiratory issues, is strongly urged not to visit patients in the hospital or residents in our long-term care and subacute facilities.

Additionally, Catholic Health is installing more hand sanitizer dispensing units throughout its facilities and encouraging patients and staff to wash their hands more frequently. Tissues and masks are also available in high-traffic areas such as the Emergency Department.

We continue to encourage people to get a flu shot and if they feel ill, to contact their primary care doctor or clinic, rather than seek treatment for routine flu symptoms in the emergency room.