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Samaritan limits visitors to birth centers, pediatrics for flu season

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To protect mothers, their newborns and pediatric patients from flu viruses circulating in our region, all Samaritan Health Services hospitals will limit visitors in birthing centers and pediatric units beginning Monday, Dec. 30.

Samaritan’s Infection Prevention team monitors state surveillance data to determine when influenza-like illness has reached a high threshold in Samaritan’s service area of Benton, Lincoln and Linn counties.

Visitor restrictions will include the following:

  • No visitors under the age of 12, unless they are well siblings of the infant/child
  • No visitors who are ill
  • Limit of five visitors when the patient is in active labor

All visitors need to be free of flu symptoms and carefully follow infection control guidelines, such as hand washing.

Children and pregnant women are among those in high-risk categories for complications from influenza-like illnesses, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control. Limiting visitors to hospital birthing centers reduces the potential for exposure for this vulnerable population.

The best defense against flu viruses, both at hospitals and in the community, is to avoid exposure through the following basic hygiene and infection control measures:

  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or upper sleeve.
  • Wash hands with soap and water frequently and regularly, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers when soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Get a seasonal flu shot. The vaccine remains the best way to prevent influenza illness for ourselves, our families, and our patients (subject to availability).
  • If sick, stay home.

For basic information about the flu, visit the Oregon Department of Human Services’ flu prevention website at flu.oregon.gov.

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