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Henry Medical drops flu-inspired visitation restrictions

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

Henry Medical Center officials have lifted the hospital's prior restrictions on those 18 years old, and younger, in visiting hospital patients.

A restriction was added to the visitation policy last October, as a means to help stave off the potential spread of flu viruses in the community, according to Michelle Nunnally, public relations specialist with Henry Medical Center.

Nunnally said the hospital's administration, along with the its infection-control and public-safety officials, decided to implement the restrictions based on recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Henry Medical Center, Nunnally continued, will now permit children as visitors, as a result of the decline in overall flu activity. Nunnally said the hospital will allow patient visits between 6 a.m., and 8:30 p.m., with a limit of three persons. However, children under the age of ten must be escorted by an adult during visits.

Visitation also may be limited in certain areas of the hospital, including the Critical Care Unit and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, or at the discretion of a patient's nurse or physician.

The CDC's recommendations, she said, pertained to concerns surrounding the transmission of the Type-A Novel H1N1 influenza virus and the seasonal flu from youngsters to patients.

Flu activity throughout Georgia has diminished in recent months, to almost no regional H1N1 activity by mid-May, according to the Weekly Influenza Surveillance Report prepared by the CDC's Influenza Division.

In May, officials with the Georgia Department of Community Health reported a lull in activity related to the 2009 H1N1 flu strain. The department's data revealed that significantly fewer hospitalizations and deaths were associated with the strain this spring, than any time before.

On the net:

Henry Medical Center: www.henrymedical.com