Mercy Health restricts visitor access due to flu season

The extra precautions are effective immediately and will remain into effect until influenza subsides

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Due to the increase in the number of influenza cases in the area, Mercy Health Youngstown, formerly Humility of Mary Health Partners, is restricting visitor access.

The hospital is implementing new health guidelines at all of its facilities in order to “protect patients, residents, their families and caregivers,” according to a news release from Mercy Health.

The guidelines include:

If you do not feel well, do not come to the hospital or skilled nursing facility to visit someone. Call them, text them on their cell phone, or send them a card – they will understand. You run the risk of infecting your friend or family member, or our health care staff, or other patients and residents when you visit while sick.

No visitors under 14 years of age will be permitted until the flu season ends. Children are exposed to many more germs in schools and day care and can easily infect others, or catch the flu by visiting someone in the hospital, skilled nursing home, or assisted living facility with the flu.

We are suspending our practice of allowing one family member to stay overnight in the room with a hospital patient until flu season subsides. Exceptions may be granted in cases of gravely ill or minor patients.

Waiting rooms or public areas cannot be used for overnight accommodations. Please give us the time to clean and disinfect waiting rooms and public visiting areas each evening, and enable your family member to get the rest they need to recuperate.

The extra precautions are effective immediately at all Mercy Health Youngstown locations, including St. Elizabeth Youngstown, St. Elizabeth Boardman, St. Joseph Warren Hospitals, as well as The Assumption Village, Marian Living Center and Humility House.

They will remain in effect until the influenza subsides.

“We are taking proactive steps to protect our patients and residents,” said Don Koenig, chief operating officer and executive vice president of Mercy Health Youngstown. “We want to limit exposure to the flu for those persons in our care who are at increased health risk, and to slow the spread of influenza.”

To protect yourself and avoid spreading the viral infection, the hospital issued the following tips:

  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water, or use an alcohol hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, or cough/sneeze into a sleeve.
  • Avoid crowded areas if possible.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Get your flu shot – this year’s shot is a good match for the Influenza Type A.
  • At the facility entrances, the hospital will have face masks handy to protect you, their health care staff and patients and residents.

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