PEORIA, Ill. — Local hospitals are asking the public to voluntarily limit hospital visits to better combat rising flu activity.
OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center, UnityPoint Health’s Methodist, Proctor, and Pekin campuses, Hopedale Medical Complex, and Kindred Hospital are attempting to take steps to protect patients, visitors, and staff from spreading the flu and other upper respiratory illnesses.
The request is based on community influenza and illness data gathered by the Peoria and Tazewell county health departments. The data shows an increased flu activity throughout the Peoria region.
Effective Monday, the hospitals are requesting 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 healthcare community said it firmly believes it is in the best interest of patient health and safety.