New rules to stop flu spread enacted at Capital Region hospitals

Thursday, January 16, 2014
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— Area hospitals are implementing visitation guidelines as the number of flu cases increase across the state.

Restrictions will begin Friday at the following hospitals: Ellis Hospital in Schenectady, Bellevue Woman’s Center in Niskayuna, Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital in Schenectady, Saratoga Hospital, Albany Medical Center, Albany Memorial Hospital, St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany, Samaritan Hospital in Troy, St. Mary’s Hospital in Troy, Glens Falls Hospital and Columbia Memorial Hospital in Hudson.

In addition to urging all visitors to use hand-washing stations before entering and after leaving a patient’s room, the hospitals will allow only two visitors at a time in a patient’s room. Children under 12 won’t be allowed to visit patient rooms, since they are more likely to have and transmit respiratory infections. And visitors with rash, diarrhea or respiratory symptoms including fever, sore throat, cough or shortness or breath won’t be allowed to visit patients.

Some hospitals have special care units or layouts that may require additional restrictions.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting widespread flu activity today for most of the country. The flu surveillance data comes from individual statewide estimates during the first week of January. Local hospitals implemented the same guidelines during the 2009 and 2013 influenza outbreaks in an effort to help limit the spread of the virus to patients and hospital staff.

CDPHP, an Albany-based health plan, is hosting two walk-in flu clinics in response to the spread. The first clinic will be this Saturday from 12 to 4 p.m. at Hannaford on Central Avenue in Albany. The second clinic will be Jan. 22 from 4 to 8 p.m. in the same place. The vaccination is covered by most insurance plans.

Reach Gazette reporter Bethany Bump at 395-3107 or

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