ESCANABA – OSF St. Francis Hospital & Medical Group is asking the public to voluntarily limit hospital visits as seasonal flu activity increases.
Lindsey Stearns, community relations specialist at OSF, said the request is a precautionary measure to protect patients, visitors, and staff from spreading the flu and other upper respiratory illnesses.
The request for the public to limit hospital visits is based on community influenza and illness data gathered by Public Health, Delta & Menominee Counties. Data indicates increased flu activity throughout the Upper Peninsula.
OSF St. Francis Hospital & Medical Group said it will also initiate masking for employees who have not received the influenza vaccination, to protect themselves as well as their patients.
Effective immediately, it is requested that:
- Visitors should be at least 18 years of age and older. This will minimize patient exposure to children, who are known to be high risk for transmission of viral infections, and will also help protect children from contracting an illness while visiting the hospital.
- Individuals who are not feeling well or have had flu-like symptoms in the past seven days should not visit hospitalized patients. Flu-like symptoms include a fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, cough, and/or sore throat.
- When entering and leaving a patient’s room, everyone should wash their hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand foam/gel. Washing helps limit the spread of disease.
- People should cough or sneeze into their arm, shoulder, or tissue (not hands) to reduce the spread of germs that can be passed from hands touching surfaces or people.
While the voluntary request is restrictive in nature, the health care community firmly believes the request is in the best interest of patient health and safety.