Visitors restricted due to flu - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Visitors restricted due to flu

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WINONA, Minn. (KTTC) --  The flu season is among us and a sudden spike in cases has people in and out of the hospital.

According to state health officials southern Minnesota has been one of the hardest hit areas so it makes sense that tougher restrictions are popping up in our area, limiting who's allowed in health care facilities.

The increase has caused places such as Winona Health hospital and a handful of other facilities in southeastern Minnesota to close their doors on visitors.

"We just have a lot of patients coming through our doors that have influenza like symptoms," said Sara Gabrick.

Throughout the state there's a 30 percent chance that if you walk through the doors of a medical facility with flu-like symptoms you will test positive. Gabrick has been with Winona Health for 28 years.

"Over time there's been flows and this is really the peak of the season," said Gabrick. "We've had about six admissions on Sunday that were related to influenza."

If you track cases back to the start of the season in October there's been a total of nearly 600 people in Minnesota hospitalized for influenza and four deaths related to the infection and its complications.

As a result, Winona Health is officially limiting visitation to immediate family members only at its hospital and long-term care facilities in order to protect vulnerable patients and the employees.

"If a visitor has been experiencing any type of upper respiratory symptoms, fever, fatigue, cough, body aches we ask that they please don't come into the hospital and contaminate all those around them," said Gabrick.

Gabrick said if you are headed to the clinic for your symptoms be prepared to wear a mask.

"We're encouraging patient to where them," said Gabrick. "If they forget we are taking one over to them."

Health officials said the flu vaccine, and of course washing your hands repeatedly, throughout the day is the best protection against the infection.

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