Palmetto Health hospitals, outpatient facilities and emergency rooms have initiated visitor restrictions in an effort to prevent the spread of illness – specifically the flu.
These restrictions are in effect until further notice and are a response to the rise in the number of community members with cold or flu-like symptoms.
Under the new restrictions:
- Palmetto Health requests that any visitor who has cold or flu-like symptoms not visit anyone in our facilities.
- In addition, the hospital system is restricting anyone younger than 18 years old from visiting. Since children are more likely to get sick and spread the flu, our staff will only allow children under 18 to visit patients in special cases – or with prior approval from the patient’s health care team.
- Limiting the number of visitors to two adults per patient at any one time. Limiting the number of visitors per patient also will help control the spread of the illness.
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“We really need our community to help us this flu season by following these restrictions,” Steve Shelton, M.D., emergency room physician and Palmetto Health medical director of Emergency Management said in a news release. “These have been initiated because the flu this year is very active. It’s impacting our entire health care community including all emergency rooms and outpatient care facilities. There are extremely long waits and an overflow of patients. We want to do everything that we can to assist those who are sick and prevent others from becoming sick.”
South Carolina and the nation are currently in what could be the worst flu outbreak in about eight years. Other hospitals in the state and in the nation have put in place similar restrictions.
Palmetto Health is reminding the community of these simple tips to prevent the spread of flu:
- Clean your hands frequently. Look for hand hygiene stations around the hospital and use them often. Please make sure to clean your hands when entering and leaving the hospital either by washing with soap or rubbing your hands together with hand sanitizer.
- Cover your cough. You can easily spread the flu as a result of coughs, sneezes or simply talking.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- It’s not too late to get the flu vaccine if you haven't done so already. Getting this simple shot can help increase your chances of staying healthy and avoid getting others sick.
“We are thankful to our community for their assistance as we get through this season,” Shelton said.