Hospital Flu Restrictions Go into Effect on Wednesday Morning

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – With a spike in flu cases, area hospitals are moving early to put restrictions in place. Local hospitals operated by Atrium and Novant will restrict visitors under 12 years old starting Wednesday morning. Caromont Health is restricting visitors under the age of 13.

They’re also asking adults with flu-like symptoms to stay away unless they’re seeking treatment.

“It’s not something to be fearful of, it’s just we need to be cautious about protecting the people who are at highest risk,” explains Dr. Katie Passretti, with Atrium Health.

She says the measures are in place to protect patients who are elderly or who have compromised immune systems.

“We are seeing certainly an earlier flu season than we’ve seen the past couple of years so we’re seeing higher peaks earlier on,” Passretti says.

The latest numbers show 10 people have died from the flu in North Carolina since the end of September. 15 have died in South Carolina, with the CDC reporting 2,900 deaths nationwide.

Health officials say ‘Type B’ is the dominant strain this year, which children are particularly susceptible to.

“If you’re sick, please stay away from other people. Stay out of work, keep your children out of school,” says Mecklenburg Co. Health Director Gibbie Harris.

Her best advice is to get a flu shot.

“What we do know is that if you get vaccinated and get the flu, then you’re likely to have much less in the way of symptoms and duration of the flu,” Harris says.