Flu concerns lead to NC hospital visitation restrictions

Posted by Debra Worley - email

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT/WMBF) - Some North Carolina hospitals are taking precautions against the swine flu by limiting who filters through their doors each day.

Starting Oct. 1, Brunswick Community Hospital visitors will have to be at least 18 years old, unless they are visiting a terminally ill relative.  Everyone, regardless of age, will still be eligible for treatment.

Southeastern Regional Medical Center will be limiting visitors to immediate family over the age of 12, also effective Oct. 1.

Hospital officials say they are beginning to see a significant increase of patients presenting flu-like symptoms in its emergency department. That area of the hospital is discouraging visitors, except in extreme cases.

"It is important for the public to understand that Emergency Services must first treat those who are severely injured or in need of immediate medical care," said Emergency Services Director Susan Phelps. "Unless someone with flu-like symptoms is at high risk for problems related to the flu, we suggest that they stay home and avoid contact with others as much as possible so that they do not spread the virus."

All emergency department visitors and patients will be required to wear masks and clean their hands upon entering the department to minimize the spread of the influenza virus.

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