Owensboro Health issues visitor restrictions with widespread illness throughout Ky.

Owensboro Health issues visitor restrictions with widespread illness throughout Ky.

DAVIESS CO., Ky. (WFIE) - Most of the country is still being hit hard by the flu. According to the CDC, it’s widespread in every state, except Oregon and Hawaii. All but five states are reporting high activity.

There have been at least 22 million cases of flu so far this season with 12,000 deaths.

Hospital officials at Owensboro Health tell us they implemented influenza visitor restrictions.

Laura Gillim, a certified infection preventionist at Owensboro Health, says the hospital is not allowing visitors under the age of 18. For those visiting patients suffering from respiratory illness, visitors are required to wear a mask and apply hand sanitizer.

Gillim says the whole state of Kentucky is experiencing a widespread flu level. She says what triggered the visitor restrictions is the number of flu swabs performed by the hospital lab technicians.

She says what’s interesting about this year’s illness is that when patients are swabbed for the flu, many of the tests are coming back negative.

“What we’re seeing is influenza-like illness," Gillim said. "People that come to the hospital, come to the ER, feel like they have the flu, but when they’re swabbed, that test is negative. So they are sick, and they have influenza-like illness, but not necessarily the flu.”

Gillim tells us that so far this year, Owensboro Health has had fewer patients with the flu compared to last year.

However, hospital officials say that if you are visiting a medical facility with flu-like symptoms, you should wear a mask to avoid getting other patients sick.

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