OPELIKA, Ala. (WRBL) – Following 233 confirmed cases of the flu at East Alabama Medical Center locations and 26 patients with flu or flu-like symptoms, visitor restrictions have been widened from childbirth services floors to housewide.
Effective immediately, visitors to the EAMC and EAMC-Lanier are asked to follow these guidelines:
- Anyone displaying flu-like symptoms should not visit anywhere in the hospital.
- Visitation is restricted to healthy immediate family members who are age 12 and older.
- Visitation in the Emergency Department (ED) is also limited—only 1 healthy family member (age 12 and up) per patient and the length of visits may be limited.
- To reach an EAMC patient by hospital phone, dial 334-528 and the patient’s room number (example: 334-528-7777). At EAMC-Lanier, dial 334-710-0 and the patient’s room number (example: 334-710-0999). If the patient’s room number is not known, the EAMC hospital operator can be reached at 334-749-3411. The operator at EAMC-Lanier can be reached at 334-756-9180 and then choose option 2.
EAMC’s Infection Prevention director, Brooke Bailey, says alternate communication may be the best method while the flu continues to spread.
“We understand the importance of visitation, and we usually encourage it. However, unless the patient needs help from a family member, relying on Facetime, texting and other methods of communicating could be beneficial to both the patient and the visitor. Our goal in putting these restrictions in place is to slow the spread of the flu and protect our patients who are vulnerable,” said Bailey.
Bailey also said that following these tips will help prevent the spread of flu as people head back to work and school after the holidays:
- Wash your hands thoroughly (and often) with soap and warm water.
- Cough or sneeze into your sleeve if a tissue is not available.
- Use hand sanitizer to clean your hands in public places.
- Use sanitizer wipes to clean surfaces (such as grocery cart handles) in public places.
- If you have the flu or flu-like symptoms, isolate yourself at home; do not go to work or school.
EAMC said that while the restrictions are already in place for visitation, they will be lenient for the first couple of days.