Jersey City Medical Center acts to stop flu from spreading

Dr. Sapna Parikh reports from Jersey City.
January 28, 2014 3:38:26 PM PST
Jersey City Medical Center is restricting visitors to stop spread of the flu - no kids, no adults with flu symptoms

As you enter Jersey City Medical Center, you'll see a sign telling you to stop. Anyone under 18 or with influenza-like illness will not be permitted to visit patients. It's a temporary move to stop the spread of the flu.

"We see the flu level in our community and county is high. We worry very much about people bringing infection into the hospital rooms," Dr. Susan Walsh, medical director of Jersey City Medical Center, said.

Dr. Walsh says they stopped allowing children and sick adults during the flu season back in 2009 when the swine flu hit. This year's primary H1N1 strain is hitting young people especially hard. The goal is to protect patients and the community.

"Obviously, I don't want to get infected and go home. My kids will get infected," Divino Guianj said.

"Especially if they're not vaccinated with the flu shot, they shouldn't come to the hospital," Adolfo Alejandro said.

Signs are posted through the hospital and front desk employees are told to watch for people with symptoms.

"I'm looking for watery in eyes or red if they're sneezing a lot," Evelyn Mendez, patient specialist at JCMC, said.

Mendez says every once in while she gets some pushback.

"I'll ask then again 'Please for the safety of our patients, can you please wear a mask?" she said.

"We will be as accommodating as we can, but we will hold the line at anything that we think can put any of our patients, including our newborns, at risk," Dr. Walsh said.

As a mother of 3, Samara Diaz wants her kids to see her grandmother, but understands why they can't

"I know they want to see their family members, but I do agree with keeping them away. There's a time and place for everything," Diaz said.