CEDAR CITY — Because of an increase in flu-like illnesses in Utah, Valley View Medical Center in Cedar City is restricting visiting privileges to those ages 14 and older only, as a precautionary measure to protect patients and the public. This is in accordance with all Intermountain hospitals, which are enforcing the same visitor restrictions to ages 14 and older.
Hospital leaders are also joining with representatives from the Southwest Utah Public Health Department to encourage all community residents to take measures to prevent the spread of flu-like illness on an ongoing basis. These measures include washing hands and using hand sanitizer, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home when ill.
Cyndi Wallace, Valley View Medical Center director of nursing, said:
The reason we are limiting visitors to 14 years of age or older is as a precaution to prevent the spread of flu-like illness, in accordance with the Southwest Utah Public Health Department, the state health department, as well all of Intermountain. This restriction is important for a few reasons. First, those ages 14 and younger are often more widely exposed to viruses, like at school, and carry those viruses with them. Second, most healthy people have an immune system that can fight those viruses; however, a hospital often has patients with compromised immune systems. Third, there has been an increase of viral illnesses in our state. Our main priority is to protect our patients and these restrictions will help us do that.We have an ongoing plan in place to respond to measurable data related to flu-like illness.
The plan includes the following:
- No one under the age of 14 should come to Valley View Medical Center unless they are there for a medical reason.
- People of all ages with fever, cough, headache, fatigue, runny or stuffy nose, or body aches should not come to the hospital unless they are there as a patient. Patients with these symptoms will be asked to wear a mask.
“We’re committed to doing all that we can to provide our patients and staff a safe environment to heal and to work in,” Janet Malachowski, infection control and prevention nurse at Valley View, said. “We recognize that these restrictions may be inconvenient for some, but we ask that people follow these visitation guidelines so that we can reduce the risk of spreading influenza-like illness and seasonal flu inside our hospitals.”
Additionally, all community residents should take the following preventive measures on an ongoing basis to prevent the spread of illness:
- Wash hands with warm water and soap or use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
- Cover coughs and sneezes. Use a tissue or your upper sleeve. Put the used tissue in a wastebasket.
“We will continue to monitor flu and respiratory illness trends,” Wallace said. “Visitor restrictions will continue until after the flu season is over and we see a reduction in these flu-like symptoms in the state.”
Submitted by Valley View Medical Center
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