INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Marion County hospitals are restricting visitors after a large spike in patients with influenza symptoms.
Two flu deaths were reported in the county on Wednesday — both adults. Statewide, 27 flu-related deaths have been reported .
The Marion County Health Department said Wednesday morning that hospitals had 403 emergency room visits from Jan. 6-12 from people with influenza symptoms. That is a 69 percent increase from the previous week.
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"The number of possible flu cases in Marion County increased dramatically last week," said Dr. Virginia Caine, director of the Marion County Public Health Department. "We must take extra precautions to prevent the spread of this virus to patients, visitors and people who work in area hospitals."
Effective Friday, Jan. 18, Marion County hospitals will implement the following restrictions when it comes to patient visitation:
- No visitors with influenza-like illnesses, fever or cough
- No visitors under the age of 18 unless special arrangement are made
- No visitors allowed beyond immediate family members, partner or significant other.
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The policy was developed in 2009 during the H1N1 outbreak. This is only the second time for activating these restrictions. Health department officials will monitor flu numbers and decide when the restrictions should be lifted.
The health department is also offering a free flu shot clinic from 1 to 5 p.m. Friday at its training center, 4012 N. Rural St. The free vaccine will also be available Friday at the department's district officers. Visit the department's website or call 221-2121 to find the nearest location.
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