(Honesdale, January 30, 2015)…A sharp hike in influenza cases has prompted Wayne Memorial Hospital to issue visitor restrictions for the safety of its patients. As of today, all children under age 18 will not be permitted to visit patients on any floor. Children are prime carriers of this highly contagious and serious illness. “Our Emergency Department is seeing a significant increase in flu cases this year, as many as 10 cases in one week recently,” said James Pettinato, RN, director of Patient Care Services, “and we are taking precautionary measures to protect our patients, our staff, and our visitors.” Pettinato added that Wayne Memorial has admitted a record number of influenza patients and many more with complications from this disease. Complications can include pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus and ear infections. Wayne Memorial is also asking all visitors with flu or flu-like symptoms to visit on another day or “visit by phone,” a recommendation from national healthcare experts. And because the disease can be transmitted by as far away as six feet, the hospital has also mandated that all staff who have not been vaccinated wear masks throughout most of the hospital’s campus, including non-clinical areas.
Since January 1st, Wayne Memorial’s Laboratory Services has tested 371 patients for influenza; 98 or approximately 26% have been confirmed positive. “The number of cases is definitely elevated,” said John Romano, Laboratory Services manager, “and we are seeing a similar picture nationally.”
Flu activity in 44 states and Puerto Rico is widespread, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In the Keystone state, the Pennsylvania Department of Health reports close to 36,000 people have tested positive for influenza since the end of September 2014.
However, as the seasonal flu peaks and then declines, other flu strains could become more prevalent, which is good news for those who were vaccinated. While this year’s vaccine was not a good match for the seasonal flu, the CDC still advocates vaccination for the cross-protection it can provide against the H1N1 and B viruses.
For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/flu or the Pennsylvania Department of Health website.
Contact: Lisa Champeau, Public Relations Manager
Jeanne Gieckel, Public Relations Assistant