Grinnell News

GRMC Limits Visitors to Prevent Outbreak

Grinnell Regional Medical Center is asking for help in the effort to protect patients from multiple widespread viruses: If you are sick, please don’t come for a visit.

Effective immediately, GRMC is asking visitors for their help in protecting patients and staff by not coming to the hospital with a sore throat, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or fever. This includes those who are visiting inpatient and obstetrical areas.

“These limits on hospital visitors will help us protect our most vulnerable population from exposure to multiple, severe viruses,” says Terri Kelling, RN, GRMC infection prevention coordinator. “This is important for GRMC’s commitment to patient safety. If you feel unwell, please don’t come to the hospital unless you are coming for medical treatment. And, to avoid spreading disease, please don’t go to school, work, or any public places if you are sick.”

According to the Iowa Department of Public Health’s surveillance report, the 2014 influenza status in Iowa is at “regional outbreaks” but rising. The first influenza-related death in Iowa was reported last week.

“We anticipate an upswing of influenza in Poweshiek County and the State of Iowa in the next week,” says Patty Hinrichs, Poweshiek County Public Health Coordinator. “We’ve also had a significant number of norovirus reports, with symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea.

Hand sanitizer is not effective on norovirus, Kelling says. “Only good, old-fashioned soap and water can kill a norovirus.”

Hospital Restrictions

In GRMC’s inpatient rooms and the Kintzinger Women’s Health Center, no more than two visitors 18 years and older (grandparents, other family member, friends, co-worker, etc.) are allowed at a time. Children under 18 will not be allowed to visit patients anywhere in the medical center unless they are a sibling. Siblings will be screened for symptoms before being allowed to visit.

Visitors should refrain from visiting if they have had any of the following symptoms in the past seven days: headaches, nausea, fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, chills, diarrhea, or vomiting. All visitors are required to wash their hands with soap or sanitizing gel when going into a patient’s room. In some cases, individuals will be required to wear masks if coming to the medical center for medical care.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to recommend influenza vaccination for people who have not yet been vaccinated this season. It is not too late, especially for children, as this year’s most common influenza strain is hitting children particularly hard. Grinnell Regional Public Health is still offering flu vaccines. For an appointment, please call 641-236-2385.

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