Monday, 19 February 2018 18:37

EMMC limits visitors as flu precaution Featured

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BANGOR – You're not alone if you've noticed more your co-workers have been calling in sick recently.

The flu continues to impact people throughout the state.

Hundreds have been hospitalized this season and several dozen have been killed.

To prevent the spread of the flu - Eastern Maine Medical Center is implementing new, temporary precautions, including limiting visitors to two per patient.

The flu has killed 43 Mainers as of February 10, mostly in southern Maine, but it is slowly spreading north.

Starting Tuesday, EMMC is limiting patient visitors to two and is requiring visitors to be 12 years old or older. Those with a cold may be asked to wear a mask and those with the flu will be turned away at the door.

“According to the CDC, it's the worst flu season we've seen in the United States since 1918,” said Dr. Jim Clarke, senior vice president at Eastern Maine Medical Center.

With thousands of Mainers heading to Bangor for the week-long MPA state basketball tournament, it just made sense to put the precautions in place now, hospital officials determined.

“We think we'd be instituting these changes whether we had the basketball tournament or not because it just seems to be marching it's way up the state and we just need to be careful,” Clarke said.

Visitors to the hospital also will be limited to basically the cafeteria and the patient's room, in an effort to limit expose to other patients and staff.

If there is a car accident, and the entire family arrives at the hospital, the visitors will be allowed in, but it will be in shifts.

“Everybody can come, but we'll only have two in the building at one time,” Clarke said.

The hospital apologizes for any inconvenience this temporary changes cause, but adds the precautions are designed to stop the spread of this deadly disease.