Jan. 3, 2018 -- (INDIANAPOLIS) – Indiana is currently experiencing widespread and high flu activity. In response to flu concerns locally, Marion County Public Health Department director Virginia A. Caine, M.D., has requested that hospitals in Marion County begin temporary visitor restrictions.

As part of a policy developed by the Indianapolis Coalition for Patient Safety, hospitals of all major health systems in Marion County have agreed to implement Tier 1 of the coalition’s Patient Visitor Policy by Monday, Jan. 8. 

The temporary visitor restrictions include:

  • No visitors with symptoms of influenza.
  • No visitors under the age of 18.
  • Visitors limited to immediate family as identified by the patient.

Marion County hospitals participating in the temporary visitor restrictions include those within Community Health Network; Franciscan Health Indianapolis; St. Vincent; and Indiana University Health, including Riley Hospital for Children; as well Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital and Richard L. Roudebush V.A. Medical Center.

Visitors are encouraged to check a hospital’s website or call in advance about its restrictions and any exceptions.

“Communities must take a multi-faceted approach to preventing the spread of flu,” said Caine.  “Along with recommending the flu vaccine and encouraging frequent handwashing, these restrictions help protect the most vulnerable patients from the flu virus, which can cause significant illness and, in certain cases, lead to extended hospitalization or death.”

For the week of Dec. 17-23, 2017, the percentage of emergency department visits in Marion County related to influenza-like illness (ILI) was 2.47 percent, which is considered high. This reflects an increase from the previous week, when the percentage of emergency departments visits for ILI was 1.8 percent.  

Estimated numbers for Dec. 24-30, 2017, reflect a percentage of 3.56 percent.    
Caine urges everyone age 6 months and older to get a flu shot. The Marion County Public Health Department offers low-cost flu vaccine at its district health offices. Flu shots are $20 for adults and kids ages 2-18; and free for children under two years old.

For district health office locations and hours, call the Marion County Public Health Department’s immunization program at 317-221-2122 or visit MarionHealth.org.
The Indianapolis Coalition for Patient Safety is comprised of chief executive, medical, nursing, quality, safety and pharmacy officers from six Indianapolis health systems. In addition, there is participation by entities such as Eli Lilly, Indiana and Purdue Universities, Butler University, the Regenstrief Institute, Inc., Indiana Hospital Association, Indiana State Department of Health and the Marion County Public Health Department. The coalition is a non-profit public charity organization.

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 Media Contact:
Curt Brantingham
Marion County Health Department
317-221-2316 (o) Ι 317-525-7450 (c)
Twitter: @ Marion_Health

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