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University of Iowa News Release

 

Oct. 23, 2009

Johnson County hospitals restrict visitors to protect patients

Leaders of University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Mercy Iowa City and the Iowa City VA Medical Center jointly announced today, Friday, Oct. 23, that they will be restricting visitors to help protect patients from the H1N1 influenza virus.

The restrictions include:

* No one under the age of 18 may visit any patient care area.
* Visitors are limited to two adults (18 or older) per patient.
* Individuals who show any signs of influenza (fever equal to or greater than 100 degrees F with respiratory symptoms such cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath; fatigue, chills, muscle pain, or headache; vomiting or diarrhea) will not be permitted to visit.
* Visits by tour groups and celebrity guests will be limited to non-patient care areas, and all such visitors will be screened for symptoms of influenza.

Exceptions to the restrictions can be made for cases that involve critically ill patients or end-of-life circumstances.

"We certainly recognize that some people will feel disappointed that they cannot visit their friends or loved ones in our hospitals, but we are taking this proactive step to help reduce the risk to our patients and staff posed by this serious public health threat," said Kenneth Kates, associate vice president, University of Iowa Health Care and CEO, UI Hospitals and Clinics. "The support of the Johnson County Department of Public Health for this important action is deeply appreciated."

Health care leaders said they will work to educate faculty, staff and patients about the new standards for visitors. The restrictions will remain in effect until the influenza threat subsides. For more information visit http://www.uihealthcare.com or http://www.uiowa.edu/flu/.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Care Marketing and Communications, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room E110 GH, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009.

CONTACT: Tom Moore, 319-356-3945, thomas-moore@uiowa.edu; Writer: Tom Moore