11/11/09 — Hospital to visitors: Stay home if you're ill

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Hospital to visitors: Stay home if you're ill

By Laura Collins
Published in News on November 11, 2009 1:46 PM

Wayne Memorial Hospital is encouraging people who have the flu, or flu-like symptoms, not to visit patients at the hospital.

At Tuesday morning's Wayne Health Corp. Board of Directors meeting, Wayne Memorial Hospital Chief Executive Officer Bill Paugh said the public should not visit patients if they have a fever, are coughing, have a runny nose or a sore throat.

"Any of these symptoms mean that someone is contagious. It could be a cold or the flu. Because it's flu season we want people to realize that everyone has a role in preventing the spread of infection," said Amy Cain, hospital director of public relations.

Ms. Cain added that anyone who is concerned about having these symptoms should consult their doctor before coming to the hospital emergency room.

"I think it is fair to say that the public has a high level of anxiety as it relates to H1N1, and probably this anxiety has prompted more people going to the (emergency department) instead of going to their doctors or the health department for a regular office visit," Ms. Cain said.

State guidelines do not advise H1N1 testing for people who come to the emergency department with flu-like symptoms. The H1N1 laboratory testing, which is done by the state, is reserved for ICU patients.

In the state, about 90 percent of flu cases are H1N1, according to the State Public Health Department. Because of that, most people who go to the emergency department with flu-like symptoms are treated as if they have H1N1 just to be cautious, Ms. Cain said.

"Having confirmed lab results for H1N1 doesn't change the course of treatment. Treatment is on a case-by-case basis depending upon each individual's health," she said. "This sometimes includes anti-virals. It almost always includes treatment for symptoms of fever, cough, muscle aches, et cetera."

So far, the hospital has dispensed about 1,550 seasonal flu vaccines and about 400 H1N1 vaccines.