Hospitals release strict visitors guidelines, health officials encourage vaccine

By WEEK Producer

Hospitals release strict visitors guidelines, health officials encourage vaccine

January 14, 2013 Updated Jan 14, 2013 at 5:59 PM CDT

CENTRAL ILLINOIS --The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports the number of states hit hard by the flu has dropped from 29 to 24, and that still includes Illinois.

In reaction to the uptick of flu cases, all area Hospitals from Kindred to Methodist Medical Center are enforcing new visitor guidelines.

Individuals who have recently experienced flu like symptoms will not be allowed, and all visitors must be 18 years of age or older.

Dr. Jason Stringer of Methodist says the hospital's flu cases have risen from zero last year to more than 80 this year.

 

"We're encouraging people to go out and get their flu shot. It's not too late, season actually goes through April," said Dr. Stringer. "Because of the increased severity now more than ever, you've got to go out and get your flu shot."

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck says this year's vaccine is a good match for the circulating flu strain.

He adds that despite an increase in demand for the shot, supply shortages are only spotty depending on the provider.

"There is no overall flu vaccine shortage, in terms of manufacturing of the vaccine," said Dr. Hasbrouck. "There is plenty flooding the nation, so to speak. There may be spot shortages around the state and the country depending on how much the provider may have ordered in anticipation of giving the flu shot."

Jewel-Osco Pharmacies has ordered additional doses of the flu vaccine. Those shipments will be delivered to the Bloomington and Normal stores on Wednesday.

To find a pharmacy or clinic near you with available vaccines, visit www.flu.gov and enter your zip code.