LINVILLE — Appalachian Regional Healthcare System is implementing visitor restrictions at Watauga Medical Center in Boone and Cannon Memorial Hospital in Linville to help limit the spread of flu.
“Flu cases have shown a steady increase as we enter the height of flu season,” said Danielle Mahaffey, chief physician executive for Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. “The flu virus spreads mainly person to person through coughing and sneezing. For the health and safety of our patients, we are asking the community to refrain from visiting to help protect the patients in our facilities.”
According to data from the NC Division of Public Health, a total of 63 North Carolina residents have died during the 2019-2020 flu season, including nine North Carolinians in the week ending on Thursday, Feb. 7.
The total does not reflect all flu-associated deaths in the state, however, as many cases go undiagnosed or unreported.
Community members may visit if they are 18 years or older, are healthy and do not have the flu or an influenza-like illness and do not live with anyone who has been diagnosed with the flu or influenza-like illness.
The medical teams at Watauga Medical Center and Cannon Memorial Hospital may make exceptions on a case-by-case basis for siblings of newborn babies and families of hospice or end-of-life patients.
If you or a family member is experiencing any of the symptoms below, seek emergency medical care.
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Sudden dizziness
- Severe or persistent vomit
- Flu-like symptoms that improve, but then return with fever and worsening cough
In babies, bluish or gray skin color, lack of responsiveness or extreme irritation.
Appalachian Regional Healthcare System is working diligently with local health departments to prevent the spread of flu and appreciates any assistance the public can provide.