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Severe flu season prompts visitor policy changes at Oishei Children's Hospital

Emyle Watkins

John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital announced Wednesday some new visitation policies in the wake of a severe flu season that has already claimed the life of a local child. The policy limits the number of visitors who can visit and measures to prevent the spread of viral illnesses.

People who have signs of the flu, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) or even a stomach bug are encouraged to not visit the hospital unless seeking treatment. If family or friends outside the immediate family would like to visit, the hospital suggests using video-calling such as Skype or Facetime.

Credit Emyle Watkins / WBFO News
Oishei Chief Medical Officer Dr. Stephen Turkovich announces the new flu policy.

Visitors are asked not to bring children under the age of five, and these children will not be permitted in certain parts of the hospital, such as labor and delivery. Anyone under the age of 14 will only be allowed to visit in the hospital supervised and under certain circumstances.

Visitors will be allowed in the hospital from 8:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. You may be turned away if you present symptoms of a viral illness. Only four people will be allowed at bedside, or two people plus the father for labor and delivery. The emergency room, same-day surgery and minor procedure areas will be limited to two adults who are not sick.

The only exceptions to this policy are for parents and grandparents of children being treated. If they are ill, a mask should be wprn while visiting. Parents and grandparents can visit 24/7 and parents do not count under the visitor totals. Special exceptions may be made by the hospital on a case-by-case basis.

Emyle Watkins is an investigative journalist covering disability for WBFO.