North Valley Hospital in Whitefish is imposing visitor restrictions in “an effort to keep patients, visitors and staff safe during this dramatic influenza season,” according to a press release from the hospital.
Kalispell Regional Healthcare imposed similar restrictions Wednesday as more than 190 cases of flu have been reported across the county.
There have been 19 hospitalizations connected to the flu, according to the Flathead City-County Health Department. Health officials noted that more cases are likely considering a majority of people with the flu do not report the illness to the county health department. A majority of the hospitalizations involved residents 65 years or older.
North Valley said it would be taking the following precautions:
— Visitors ages 13 and younger will not be allowed in North Valley Hospital, unless they themselves are presenting as a patient or are part of a family group coming into the Emergency Department.
— No more than two visitors at a time may visit a patient.
— All symptomatic visitors (those exhibiting flu-like symptoms) will be asked to wear masks and restrict themselves from public spaces.
— As always, visitors are asked to wash their hands before and after visiting a patient.
— End-of-life situations and children visiting their parents in the Birth Center will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
Contact North Valley Hospital at 406-863-3500 for questions about the policy.
Influenza is widespread across Montana with more than 1,600 cases reported this season, according to state health officials. As of Jan. 3, there were 120 hospitalizations in the previous two weeks.
Updated Jan. 15 — Local health officials provided an update on the number of flu cases in the county. There were 192 confirmed cases and 19 hospitalizations as of Jan. 9.
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