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Stephanie Armstrong-Helton
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Title
Three County Hospitals Announce New Temporary Visitor Guidelines
Start Date
11/06/2009
Article
St. Clair County, MI…Beginning today, Friday, November 6, 2009, and until further notice, St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, St. John River District Hospital and Port Huron Hospital are putting in place temporary visitor guidelines designed to slow the spread of all types of flu.

All three hospitals ask for the public’s help in protecting patients by cooperating with these guidelines:

• People, who are experiencing flu-like symptoms, should not come to any St. Clair County hospital facility for any reason, except to seek care. This includes not only patients’ loved ones, but those with business reasons for visiting these facilities. Flu-like symptoms include a fever, together with a cough, sore throat, or runny nose.

• No visitor, under the age of 18, will be allowed to visit any hospitalized patient. This age group is most susceptible to the H1N1 flu virus, and high rates of illness are being seen in children and teens.

• No patient who has been admitted to any hospital or emergency department may have more than two visitors to his/her room at a time. Visitors should be limited to those who are essential to the emotional and physical support of the patient.

Hospitals across the region are implementing new visitor guidelines to slow the spread of flu which has become widespread in Michigan. Patients who are hospitalized are much more likely than the general public to develop severe complications if they catch the flu.

“We recognize it may be inconvenient for patients and their families, but we are asking the public’s help as we implement strategies designed to protect our patients, employees and staff,” says John Brooks, MD, chairman of the Infection Prevention Committee at both Port Huron and St. Joseph Mercy hospitals. “We value our patients’ visitors and families. Individual patient care situations will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and any exceptions will be determined by the patient care team.

“The physicians and staff are doing everything we can to keep patients healthy during this flu season. But, the community can help us too,” states Sajjad Saeed, MD, infectious disease specialist on staff at St. John River District Hospital. “We believe the steps we are taking to limit visitors are necessary to protect the health of our patients, staff and the community.”

More information on the new temporary guidelines, and other flu-related topics, is available by going to any of the three hospital web sites: www.porthuronhospital.org; www.stjohn.org; or www.mymercy.us.

More information regarding flu symptoms can be found by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at: www.cdc.gov; or the St. Clair County Health Department at: www.stclaircounty.org/offices/health/.
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