St. Peter’s Health implements visitor restrictions due to increase in cold, influenza and COVID activity in community

October 2, 2023

In response to a steady increase of virus prevalence in our community, St. Peter’s Health announced today that they are instituting visitor restrictions at the Regional Medical Center. According to an article published by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, we’re likely to experience another early flu season, underscoring the importance routine vaccination can play in keeping our community healthy. 

St. Peter’s Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Shelly Harkins says visitor restrictions are common at medical facilities throughout the country, although the community health system is implementing them a little earlier than usual this year. 

“Our number one priority is the safety of our patients and staff,” said Harkins. “We are taking a very proactive approach in protecting our workforce and instituting these changes ahead of peak virus season. It’s our job to help prevent the spread of viruses and protect those who are immunocompromised, like the elderly, young children and those who are ill or undergoing medical treatments in our facilities.” 

Dr. Anne Anglim, Infection Prevention Specialist at St. Peter’s, encourages the community to schedule their annual seasonal vaccinations. 

“Getting your seasonal vaccines, like the flu shot and COVID booster, not only give you and your family added protection from the viruses, but they prevent millions of flu and cold related illnesses, lost time and productivity, and medical visits each year,” says Anglim.  “Almost every pharmacy and medical clinic in town, including St. Peter’s, makes these annual vaccines available. Most of the time, you can walk in and get it done without an appointment, and many times insurance plans completely cover the cost of your visit.“ 

Click HERE to learn more about the importance of getting your annual flu shot

About Visitor Restrictions at the Regional Medical Center (hospital)

Visitor restrictions are in effect at the Regional Medical Center, including the emergency department, as of 8 a.m. today Monday, Oct. 2, 2023. Visitor restrictions are in place to ensure patient, visitor and employee safety.

While the restrictions are in effect, children 12 and under, as well as anyone with cold and flu-like symptoms are restricted from visiting the Regional Medical Center unless they are seeking care. If you are experiencing the following symptoms when seeking care, please put on a mask available at patient entrances to help protect others during your visit:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore Throat
  • Runny Nose
  • Nasal Congestion

If you are not experiencing these symptoms and visiting a loved one in the hospital, please remember to wash or sanitize your hands frequently to avoid getting sick or getting someone else sick. 

Click HERE to learn more about visitation guidelines at St. Peter’s Health