Mercy Medical Center sets visitor restrictions after increase in flu cases

Hampden County

A hospital in western Massachusetts is imposing restrictions on visitors to protect patients and staff. 

Mercy Medical Center in Springfield is imposing restrictions on visitors because of a recent spike in flu cases.  

The restrictions to visitors will include limiting patients to two visitors at a time, and no visitors under 14-years-old. 

Anyone with cold or flu symptoms is prohibited from visiting Mercy Medical Center. Only two visitors at a time per patient, and no visitors under the age of 14. Baystate Medical Center has also seen a recent spike in flu patients, which could lead to a policy change.

“It looks actually similar to last year which was a pretty busy year,” said Dr. Daniel Skiest, infectious disease doctor. “I don’t think we’ve really peaked yet but the last 2 weeks there’s really been an uptick in the number of cases that have been diagnosed with the flu.”

These restrictions are in place until further notice and have been put in place to protect both patients and staff members. 

Baystate Medical Center says they have not changed their visitation policy because of the flu but that could change at any time. During the week of January 5, they recorded 150 positive flu tests which even left some hospitalized. 

Despite the recent flu cases and warnings from medical professionals, some people still choose not to get the flu shot. 

“You know your immune system is built to take in whatever is out there and then it fights it off so I’d rather do it without someone giving me the fluI’dd rather take my chances you know,” said Talon Elmore of Springfield.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, flu cases are on the rise in the state. Last year, more than 80,000 people died from the flu. The majority were not vaccinated, according to the CDC. 

Dr. Skiest recommends everyone over the age of six months get the flu shot every year. It’s also important to see your doctor right away if you develop flu symptoms.

Most pharmacies and urgent care facilities will be providing the flu vaccination through early March.

And If you have the flu, stay home from work or keep your child out of school to prevent the spread of the flu.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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