Virginia is among few states in the U.S. still reporting regional H1N1 activity
Virginia — January 28, 2010 —Virginia is among a handful of states still reporting regional H1N1 flu activity according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest Flu View.
Due to the potential public health threat from 2009 H1N1, area hospitals agree to maintain their current visiting policy—limited to adults 18 years and older—as a precaution to protect vulnerable hospital patients from the spread of 2009 H1N1 and seasonal flu.
In the shared interest of patient safety, the hospitals are maintaining the visiting policy put into effect Thursday, October 15, 2009, and plan to hold it in place through late March. As it stands, no one under the age of 18 is permitted in Hampton Roads area hospitals unless he or she is seeking care. This visitation policy change includes siblings of newborns in Women's and Infant's units.
The 18 area hospitals have proactively put these visitation measures into place to protect their most vulnerable inpatients from potential exposure to H1N1. This policy applies only to visitors, not to those seeking medical care.
Area hospitals are sympathetic to the desires of families to visit loved ones in hospitals; however they are holding steady for the following reasons:
Experts in pandemic trends are predicting a possible third wave of H1N1 this spring.
Hospitals believe lifting and then reactivating the changed visiting policy would be more confusing and disruptive for the community than holding steady.
Hospitals need more information to make an informed decision about lifting the current visiting policy.
Hospitals are not taking the current visiting policy change lightly. They will re evaluate their position periodically and consider available regional, state, and national data to aid in the decision about when to return to normal visiting policies.
This age restriction reflects the higher prevalence of 2009 H1N1 among children and adolescents, putting them at greater risk of carrying the virus into health care settings.
Additionally, individuals displaying symptoms of influenza-like illness should not visit area hospitals. Symptoms of flu include: fever and respiratory illness such as cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, chills, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea.
Participating hospitals include:
Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center
Bon Secours Mary Immaculate Hospital
Bon Secours Maryview Medical Center
Chesapeake Regional Medical Center
Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters
Naval Medical Center Portsmouth
Riverside Regional Medical Center
Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital
Riverside Tappahannock Hospital
Riverside Walter Reed Hospital
Sentara Norfolk General Hospital
Sentara Bayside Hospital
Sentara CarePlex Hospital
Sentara Heart Hospital
Sentara Leigh Hospital
Sentara Obici Hospital
Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital
Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center
Hospital leaders understand the inconvenience this policy change may cause area families. However, they ask the community to understand the need to control the spread of flu to patients and to partner with these institutions for the good of public health.
Limited exceptions may be made for expectant and new fathers under the age of 18 and, for example, instances involving patients at the end of life. Exceptions would be allowed at the discretion of the attending physician and hospital leadership.