Starting Friday at 7 a.m., many hospitals in the region are restricting access for visitors under the age of 12 as flu cases go up.
Atrium Health and Novant Health, as well as Wake Forest Baptist in Winston Salem, Cone Health in Greensboro and Randolph Health in Asheboro, are all implementing the restriction at the same time in order to avoid confusion.
There have been 25 flu-associated deaths in South Carolina and 29 in North Carolina so far this flu season, which started at the end of September. Hospitals are encouraging patients who have flu symptoms like fever, body aches, cough or a sore throat not to visit patients in the hospital in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus.
Novant Chief Medical Officer Dr. Eric Eskioglu said, “The flu virus can be extremely dangerous to people who have compromised immune systems, cancer, kidney disease and other chronic conditions.”
Visitor restrictions are in effect until further notice and the health systems will evaluate the need weekly.
In a statement, Atrium Health said many who get the flu have mild reactions and don’t need medical care. The health system recommends resting at home and avoiding contact with others and suggests only going to the emergency department if patients have severe symptoms like difficulty breathing, chest pains, severe vomiting or signs of dehydration.
The flu shot and frequent hand washing with soap are simple ways to protect yourself against the flu.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services statistics show this flu cases increased in the last week of January but are still lower than the last two flu seasons.
Atrium Health locations with visitor restrictions:
Atrium Health’s Carolinas Medical Center
Atrium Health’s Levine Children’s Hospital
Atrium Health’s Levine Cancer Institute
Carolinas Medical Center-Mercy
Carolinas HealthCare System NorthEast
Atrium Health Pineville
Atrium Health Union
Atrium Health University City
Atrium Health Lincoln
Atrium Health Cleveland
Atrium Health Anson
Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge
Carolinas HealthCare System Stanly
Carolinas HealthCare System Behavioral Health-Charlotte
Carolinas HealthCare System Behavioral Health-Davidson
Carolinas Rehabilitation-Mt. Holly
Atrium Health Pineville Rehabilitation Hospital
Novant Health locations with visitor restrictions
Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center
Novant Health Charlotte Orthopedic Hospital
Novant Health Clemmons Medical Center
Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center
Novant Health Hemby Children’s Hospital
Novant Health Huntersville Medical Center
Novant Health Kernersville Medical Center
Novant Health Matthews Medical Center
Novant Health Medical Park Hospital
Novant Health Mint Hill Medical Center
Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center
Novant Health Rowan Medical Center
Novant Health Thomasville Medical Center