The Free Press, Mankato, MN

January 8, 2013

Mayo System restricts hospital visitation because of flu outbreak

The Free Press

— With flu cases soaring, Mayo Clinic Health System is implementing visitor restrictions at its hospitals in Mankato, New Prague, Fairmont, Springfield, St. James and Waseca.

Visitors are limited to immediate family members (a patient’s spouse or significant other, parent, sibling or child).

Only two visitors are allowed 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 and are effective until further notice.

New Ulm Medical Center announced similar restrictions there on Friday.

 Hospital officials say the measures are designed to protect vulnerable patients, as well as staff members. The flu can be especially dangerous to the frail or elderly, especially if they’re already hospitalized for another reason.

The tightest restrictions are popping up mostly in southern Minnesota, which has been among the hardest-hit areas this flu season.

Some hospitals are reporting higher numbers of flu patients than during the height of the 2009 H1N1 outbreak, according to the Mayo Clinic.