Charlotte-region hospitals issue visitor restriction as flu cases spike

Major hospitals begin restricting visitation for children due to flu threat

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Atrium and Novant are among healthcare facilities restricting access for visitors 12 and under at Charlotte-region in-patient hospitals as a result of growing flu cases.

The health giants made the announcement Thursday morning, saying the restriction would go into place at 7 a.m. Friday.

“It is not meant to be a big scare thing or anything like that, it is really to minimize the number of sick people,” said Dr. Katie Passaretti the Medical Director of Infection Prevention for Atrium Health.

Six people died in North Carolina last week, making the total 35 for the season, according to the NC Department of Health and Human Services.

“Out of concern for the health and well-being of our patients, Novant Health is asking the community to keep visitors age 12 and under out of all acute care facilities due to the widespread outbreak of the flu virus throughout the community,” Novant said in a release.

Atrium says Novant Health, Cone Health, Wake Firest Baptist Health and Randolph Health are also implementing the restrictions Friday to avoid any confusion.

“Over the past two weeks we have seen a sharp increase. I think we doubled the amount of positive flu test here at Atrium,” said Dr. Passaretti. “I can’t tell just yet if we are at peak flu season or if we are going to see an increase in flu cases.”

CaroMont Regiolan Medical Center is also restricting visitors under the age of 13, effective Friday at 7 a.m.

“We constantly monitor the incidence of patients with infectious illnesses, and we have seen a significant increase of patients with flu-like symptoms in our hospital,” said Dr. Todd Davis, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at CaroMont Health. “

Below are hospitals affected by the restriction:

  • Atrium Health’s Carolinas Medical Center
  • Atrium Health’s Levine Children’s Hospital
  • Atrium Health’s Levine Cancer Institute, Carolinas Medical Center-Mercy
  • Carolinas HealthCare System NorthEast, Atrium Health Pineville
  • Atrium Health Union, Atrium Health University City, Atrium Health Lincoln, Atrium Health Cleveland
  • Atrium Health Kings Mountain, Atrium Health Anson, Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge
  • Carolinas HealthCare System Stanly, Carolinas HealthCare System Behavioral Health-Charlotte
  • Carolinas HealthCare System Behavioral Health-Davidson, Carolinas Rehabilitation-Charlotte
  • Carolinas Rehabilitation-NorthEast, Carolinas Rehabilitation-Mt. Holly, and Atrium Health Pineville Rehabilitation Hospital
  • Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center
  • Novant Health Charlotte Orthopedic Hospital
  • Novant Health Clemmons Medical Center
  • Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center
  • Novant Health Hemby Children’s Hospital
  • Novant Health Huntersville Medical Center
  • Novant Health Kernersville Medical Center
  • Novant Health Matthews Medical Center
  • Novant Health Medical Park Hospital
  • Novant Health Mint Hill Medical Center
  • Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center
  • Novant Health Rowan Medical Center
  • Novant Health Thomasville Medical Center
  • Novant Health UVA Health System Prince William Medical Center
  • Novant Health UVA Health System Haymarket Medical Center
  • Novant Health UVA Health System Culpeper Medical Center
  • CaroMont Regional Medical Center in-patient hospitals

Atrium asks anyone with flu-like symptoms (fever, headaches/body aches/pain, cough or sore throat, stuffy or runny nose, chills, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea) to avoid visiting the hospital.

“If extraordinary circumstances require an individual with flu-like symptoms to visit a hospital patient, the visitor will be asked to wear a surgical mask to protect themselves and others,” Atrium says.

People who are seeking treatment at hospitals are not subject to the restriction.

“The flu virus can be extremely dangerous to people who have compromised immune systems, cancer, kidney disease and other chronic conditions,” said Dr. Eric Eskioglu, executive vice president and chief medical officer, Novant Health.

Wednesday, Iredell Memorial Hospital implemented a visitor restriction, asking that children under 17 avoid visiting the hospital.

Children may be allowed access to hospital areas in the event of special circumstances such as visiting a dying family member, Novant says.

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