NEW ULM - Two more area hospitals have instituted visitor restrictions to protect patients from exposure to influenza.
New Ulm Medical Center and the Madelia Community Hospital announced Friday they are putting temporary visitor restrictions into effect. The Sleepy Eye Community Hospital annouced restrictions earlier in the week.
The restrictions at New Ulm Medical Center include:
Immediate family only may visit
No more than two visitors at a time
If you are sick, you may not visit
The NUMC clinic continues to be open regular hours.
In Madelia the restrictions include:
Only immediate family members permitted (patient spouse or significant other, parent, sibling of child)
No children under the age of five
Only two visitors per patient at a time
No one who is ill (with symptoms of influenza including fever or chills, muscle or body aches, sore throat, cough, stuffy nose, headache and fatigue) will be permitted to visit.
These restrictions apply to all patients in all areas of the hospitals, including staff members.
Since the start of the influenza season, more than 575 people in Minnesota have been hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza, according the Minnesota Department of Health. Since the start of the influenza season there have been 31 outbreaks of influenza and four influenza-related deaths that have been reported in the state.
Getting a flu shot is one of the most effective ways for people to avoid getting the flu and spreading the illness to others, say medical professionals. Flu vaccines are still in plentiful supply and are readily available.
Other steps everyone can take to prevent contracting and spreading the flu include:
Cover your cough.
Wash your hands with warm water and soap, or use an alcohol-based sanitizer.
If you aren't feeling well, stay home.
If your children are ill, keep them at home.