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NJ hospitals urged to halt kid visits

November 10, 2009 2:53:05 PM PST
The hospital industry's leading trade group is recommending that all New Jersey hospitals suspend visiting privileges for kids in an effort to prevent the spread of the H1N1 swine flu. The New Jersey Hospital Association made the recommendation Tuesday, saying visitors younger than 18 should barred until the flu passes.

"These are common-sense precautions in the midst of a growing H1N1 flu outbreak," association president and CEO Betsy Ryan said. "We apologize for the inconvenience these restrictions may pose, but we trust our visitors will understand that they are in everyone's best interest."

The state Department of Health and Senior Services endorsed the recommendation.

"Health care facilities may wish to limit visitors to persons who are necessary for the patient's emotional well-being and care,'' spokeswoman Donna Leusner said. "The CDC guidance suggests that visitors should be screened for symptoms of acute respiratory illness before entering the hospital.''

The association also urged hospitals to bar adults from visiting if they are suffering from any flu-like symptoms.

Several hospitals in New Jersey enacted similar restrictions before this recommendation came out.

There have been 20 patients in the state who have died from complications from the swine flu, according to reports.

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