Hospitals are bracing for an increase in patients with flu-like symptoms after a mild flu season last winter.
Every state has reported flu cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with half experiencing outbreaks statewide. The hospitalization rate for flu-like symptoms soared to 9.7 per 100,000 for the week ending Jan. 3, compared with 2.5 per 100,000 people reported a month before, the CDC said.
In response, a number of hospitals have begun implementing safety precautions in hopes of reducing transmission of the virus. Last week, Centegra Health System began prohibiting people under the age of 14 from visiting its hospitals in Woodstock and McHenry, Ill. In addition, it limited visitation to immediate family members in its obstetrics and pediatrics departments, and allowed no more than two visitors at a time in any unit.