Grinnell Regional Medical Center is asking for help in the effort to protect patients from widespread influenza circulating in the state: If you are sick, please don’t come for a visit.
Effective immediately, GRMC is asking visitors for their help in protecting patients and staff by not coming to the hospital with a sore throat, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or fever. This includes those who are visiting inpatient and obstetrical areas.
“These limits on hospital visitors will help us protect our most vulnerable population from exposure to viruses,” says Terri Kelling, RN, GRMC infection prevention coordinator. “This is important for GRMC’s commitment to patient safety. If you feel unwell, please don’t come to the hospital unless you are coming for medical treatment. Help out your family, friends, and co-workers by staying home to avoid spreading the virus. Please don’t go to school, work, or any public places if you are sick.”
“We are experiencing a significant upswing of influenza in Poweshiek County and the State of Iowa in the last week,” says Patty Hinrichs, Poweshiek County Public Health Coordinator. “This year’s strain is especially affecting small children and the elderly. ”
In the last reporting week, the Iowa Influenza Surveillance Network indicated 55 influenza-related hospitalizations statewide. Several flu outbreaks have been reported in 21 long-term care facilities. The most common flu virus circulating is the influenza A(H3N2) strain, although four different strains have been identified. In seasons when A(H3N2) viruses pre-dominate, the flu season tends to be more severe with more hospitalizations and deaths.
In GRMC’s inpatient rooms and the Kintzinger Women’s Health Center, no more than two visitors 18 years and older (grandparents, other family member, friends, co-worker, etc.) are allowed at a time. Children under 12 will be screened for symptoms before being allowed to visit.
Visitors should refrain from visiting if they have had any of the following symptoms in the past seven days: headaches, nausea, fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, chills, diarrhea, or vomiting. All visitors are required to wash their hands with soap or sanitizing gel when going into a patient’s room. Individuals will be asked to wear masks if coming to the medical center for medical care.
“If you are ill or not feeling well, please stay home. Don’t go to school, work, or public places if you are sick,” Kelling emphasizes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to recommend influenza vaccinations for people who have not yet been vaccinated this season. It is not too late, especially for children. Grinnell Regional Public Health is still offering flu vaccines. For an appointment, please call 641-236-2385.
Remember the 3Cs: Cover your coughs and sneezes; Clean your hands frequently; and Contain germs by staying home when ill.