Hospital visit limits lifted

April 10, 2019

Allen County health care facilities Tuesday lifted visitation restrictions put in place last month as cases of influenza spiked.

Cases have slowed, but officials said they expect seasonal flu activity to continue at least a few more weeks.

Visitors to facilities including hospitals and nursing homes had been restricted to two per patient at one time, and only visitors older than 18 were allowed in.

“We understand it can be a sacrifice to patients and health care professionals, but we do believe these efforts helped reduce transmission during this period of heightened flu activity,” Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Deborah McMahan said in a statement.

The restrictions were announced March 21, as cases of the flu jumped from about a dozen a day to more than 50, according to Parkview Health officials.

Particularly bothersome was an increase in the H3N2 strain, which health care professionals said poses more risk for children, older people and patients with chronic health problems including heart disease and asthma.

Lutheran Health saw a jump in the number of the H3N2 cases, spokesman Geoff Thomas said at the time.

The most recent Indiana State Department of Health weekly report on influenza-like illnesses shows activity around the state has slowed.

The number of H3N2 cases has also decreased across the country, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

People should protect themselves by getting a flu shot, staying home when sick, washing hands, covering coughs and wearing a mask if needed, according to a news release from the local health department.