Masking recommended for widespread flu levels
Public health officials report seasonal influenza-like illness in Hampton Roads and northeast North Carolina is now at a high level.
Effective immediately, local area hospitals and healthcare systems strongly recommend all patients and visitors, including those seeking outpatient services, wear a mask inside hospitals, medical facilities and physician practices to protect the community from the spread of flu. Masks and hand sanitizer are available at facility entrances for public use.
All patients and visitors, even those who already had a flu vaccine, are strongly encouraged to wear masks inside healthcare facilities. Vaccine is the best prevention available, but they are not 100% effective. Masking provides an added layer of protection from the potentially deadly disease.
As healthcare providers, our goal is to protect the community from disease. Data suggests infected persons can transmit the virus as much as 24 hours before displaying symptoms. This community-wide recommendation helps protect our patients, visitors and staff from exposure to flu, even before symptoms occur.
Individuals displaying symptoms of influenza-like illness are asked not to visit patients at area hospitals. Symptoms of flu include fever and respiratory illness symptoms such as cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, chills, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea.
The recommendation to wear a mask when entering healthcare facilities will remain in effect during the flu season while the disease is at widespread levels.
Additional measures to limit the spread of disease, especially flu, include washing hands frequently, staying home when sick, getting vaccinated and coughing into sleeves or tissues.
Participating medical entities include:
- Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center
- Bon Secours Mary Immaculate Hospital
- Bon Secours Maryview Medical Center
- Bon Secours Health Center at Harbour View
- Chesapeake Regional Healthcare
- Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters
- Naval Medical Center Portsmouth
- Riverside Doctors’ Hospital
- Riverside Regional Medical Center
- Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital
- Riverside Tappahannock Hospital
- Riverside Walter Reed Hospital
- Sentara Albemarle Medical Center
- Sentara CarePlex Hospital and Orthopedic Hospital at Sentara CarePlex
- Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital
- Sentara Leigh Hospital
- Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital
- Sentara Martha Jefferson Emergency Department at Proffit Road
- Sentara Norfolk General Hospital and Sentara Heart Hospital
- Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center
- Sentara Obici Hospital
- Sentara Princess Anne Hospital
- Sentara RMH Medical Center
- Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital
- Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center
- Sentara Freestanding Emergency Departments at BelleHarbour, Port Warwick, Independence and Lake Ridge