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Flu Epidemic Pushes Local Hospitals To Limit Visitors

Flu vaccine syringe
CDC Public Health Image Library

In light of the Centers for Disease Controls recent declaration of a flu epidemic, local hospitals in Kent County have issued a joint news advisory. This, through the Kent County Health Department.  Until further notice, local hospitals are limiting visitation to their hospitals. 

“The goal is to limit the impact that flu has on our collective patients as a community.  So it really is to help protect the patients in all our hospitals as a collective healthcare community.”

And to limit the impact, local hospitals are joining forces by limiting visitation to their hospitals.

“Limiting exposure, limits the spread of flu.”

That’s Dr. Matthew Denenberg, Vice President of Medical Affairs at Spectrum Grand Rapids.  Spectrum, along with Mercy Health, University of Michigan health, Mary Free Bed and Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services are all limiting visitation as well as asking patients to limit the number of people who accompany them to office and clinic visits.

This follows the Centers for Disease Control’s declaration of a flu epidemic, which has many hospital staff members working overtime.

“Our hospital census is at record highs right now, we have a number of patients admitted in the hospital with flu related illnesses.  So yes, we are seeing what the rest of the country is seeing right now.”

Dr. Dennenberg says in addition to limiting the number of visitors, (except for extenuating circumstance, they’ll also be asking a few questions.

“We’re doing some simple screening of visitors, so asking them questions, have you had a fever, been exposed to someone with flu symptoms to limit the number of people coming in with the flu trying to prevent the spreading to staff and other patients.”

Dr. Dennenberg says the visitation limits will remain in effect basically, until they determine they’re no longer needed.  But in the meantime, residents should continue to play it safe.

“Cough etiquette, cover mouth when you cough. Getting your flu shot, it’s not too late. The CDC is still recommending you go out and get your flu shot.”

Jennifer is an award winning broadcast news journalist with more than two decades of professional television news experience including the nation's fifth largest news market. She's worked as both news reporter and news anchor for television and radio in markets from Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo all the way to San Francisco, California.