Public health officials and the local hospital systems want to remind the community about the importance of adhering to visitation policies during heightened respiratory virus activity in Allen County. Cases of influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), COVID-19 and other viruses have risen in recent weeks. Visitation policies aim to curb patient exposure in hospitals while the community is experiencing widespread transmission.
“Health care providers across the country are seeing a significant increase in hospitalizations and cases of serious respiratory viruses, and Allen County has not escaped the trend,” said Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Gutwein. “Visitation policies are proactive measures to lessen the effects on hospitals and help stop the spread of disease among some of the most vulnerable in our community.”
Each hospital has network-specific restrictions and recommendations in place to help protect our community and stop the spread of respiratory viruses. They may also have additional or different restrictions in certain areas or specialties. Anyone with questions should contact the hospital they plan to visit before arriving:
• Lutheran: www.lutheranhealth.net/patients-visitors
• Parkview: www.parkview.com/messageboard
With many respiratory illnesses including flu circulating, hospitals across Indiana have reported increased patient caseloads. The state has recorded at least 24 deaths from the flu this season, and the Indiana Department of Health last week announced the state’s first pediatric flu death of the season.
In addition to adhering to the restrictions, the Department of Health urges Allen County residents to do the following to minimize transmission or respiratory viruses:
- Get vaccinated. While there is no RSV vaccine, vaccines for flu and COVID-19 are widely available. All residents age 6 months and older should be vaccinated against influenza, unless there are known allergies to the vaccines. COVID-19 vaccines also are available to anyone 6 months or older. Vaccines can be provided by the Allen County Department of Health. Super Shot also provides vaccines. Vaccine providers can also be found at www.vaccines.gov/.
- Stay home if you’re sick. All residents experiencing symptoms of respiratory diseases, including fever and muscle aches, should stay home from work or school. If treatment is needed, contact your primary health care provider.
- Wash hands frequently. Use soap and warm water, whenever possible. If they are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Cover coughs and sneezes. Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.
- Wear a mask, as required and/or recommended. Masks have been shown to help prevent spread of respiratory viruses such as flu and COVID-19.