Jersey City hospital limiting visitors due to flu outbreak

January 27, 2014 5:08:25 PM PST
A New Jersey hospital says it is temporarily limiting visitation due to the rising number of flu cases in the state.

Visitors to Jersey City Medical Center under age 18 and those with signs of influenza-like illness will not be permitted to visit patients, hospital officials say. This includes those in Labor and Delivery and Post-Partum.

"There has been a high incidence of flu in Hudson County," said Vicki DeChirico, the hospital's coordinator of infection control. "One theory behind this is that many residents of Jersey City and Hoboken travel by mass transit. As such, they are more exposed to people coughing or sneezing and, as a result, may be more susceptible to the flu. We're being proactive here with the intent of helping prevent the spread of flu in the community."

Additional staff, she said, is on duty to care for those who are sick. Special considerations will be made at the hospital in the case of emergency conditions.

In addition, the hospital is concerned about the spread of a separate norovirus, a condition often accompanied by gastrointestinal symptoms.

According to DeChirico, the flu shot is still effective at this point in the flu season, especially for those over age 65, those with a chronic health condition, and infants under the age of six months.

"If you show signs of the flu, cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing, wash your hands with soap and water frequently and stay home from work or school," she said.

Doctors have called this year's flu outbreak, which has reached across 40 states, an epidemic.