In the past week, a total of 233 confirmed cases of the flu have been seen in the EAMC and EAMC-Lanier Emergency Departments. Plus, a total of 26 patients with flu or flu-like symptoms are currently hospitalized at the two hospitals. As a result, East Alabama Medical Center officials have made the decision to put visitor restrictions in place at both hospitals, effective immediately.
Visitors to either hospital are asked to follow these guidelines:
•Anyone displaying flu-like symptoms should not visit anywhere in the hospital.
•Visitation is restricted to healthy immediate family members who are age 12 and older.
•Visitation in the Emergency Department (ED) is also limited—only 1 healthy family member (age 12 and up) per patient and the length of visits may be limited.
•To reach an EAMC patient by hospital phone, dial 334-528 and the patient’s room number (example: 334-528-7777). At EAMC-Lanier, dial 334-710-0 and the patient’s room number (example: 334-710-0999). If the patient’s room number is not known, the EAMC hospital operator can be reached at 334-749-3411. The operator at EAMC-Lanier can be reached at 334-756-9180 and then choose option 2.
Brooke Bailey, Infection Prevention director at EAMC, says using other forms of communication may be best during this time. “We understand the importance of visitation, and we usually encourage it. However, unless the patient needs help from a family member, relying on Facetime, texting and other methods of communicating could be beneficial to both the patient and the visitor. Our goal in putting these restrictions in place is to slow the spread of the flu and protect our patients who are vulnerable.” Based on prior years, the restrictions will likely remain in place into the month of March.
Bailey says following the tips listed below will further help everyone in preventing the spread of the flu, especially as people head back to work and school following the holidays.