Bon Secours St. Francis Health System is the latest hospital in the region to ask for limited visitation because of a growing number of flu cases.
"We've seen 135 cases of flu over the past week, with 10 of those resulting in hospital admissions," said Michelle Bushey, director of infection prevention and patient safety.
"While we are not yet mandating a restriction on visitation," she said, "we are highly recommending foregoing visiting patients at this time."
The flu has been widespread throughout the state since Dec. 13, according to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.
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The St. Francis measure, which asks friends and family to "use careful discretion" before visiting, applies to both Downtown and Eastside hospitals.
On Monday, AnMed Health in Anderson requested that all children and anyone with symptoms of cold, flu or respiratory illness keep from visiting patients until after the peak of flu season.
AnMed Health had logged 215 cases by Christmas Eve.
"This has turned into a very busy flu season, and a dangerous one for some people," said Dr. Joseph Halliday, an infectious disease specialist at the hospital.
"We are asking the public's help in preventing illness by limiting unnecessary contact and keeping hands washed," he said. "This is important to each of us individually and to the community as a whole."
Greenville Health System last week asked that children younger than 18 refrain from visiting patients, along with anyone who has signs of the flu, respiratory illness or cold.
St. Francis also is hosting a drive-through flu clinic at Bon Secours Wellness Arena on Jan. 8 to provide free flu shots to help stop the spread of the flu.
The clinic, which is open to residents 18 and older who haven't gotten a shot, will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the VIP parking lot off Church Street.
Supply is limited and offered on a first-come, first-served basis.
"It's important to remember that the flu can be very serious, and receiving an annual immunization can make all the difference," said Dr. Saria Saccocio, chief medical officer at St. Francis.
"While some people may have skipped their flu shot this season after reading that a new strain may make this year's immunizations less effective," she added, "receiving the vaccine is still highly suggested and can certainly limit the severity and duration of the virus."