Banner Health restricts hospital visitors due to RSV, flu risk

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – Beginning Monday, Banner Health is implementing visitor restrictions at all hospital locations due to increased risks of flu and RSV cases. Masks will be required and there will be restrictions for children under 13 years old.

The following restrictions are in place:

  • Restricting visitors if they have a fever, cough, vomiting or diarrhea.
  • All visitors over age 2 are required to wear a mask over their nose and mouth for the duration of their visit
  • Restricting visitors under the age of 13. Siblings, who do not have cold and flu symptoms, may visit a new baby on the Obstetrics unit or Pediatric unit. That child may be screened for illness by staff before being allowed to visit.
  • Children, including siblings will not be allowed to visit the NICU
  • Children 12 and under must be supervised by an adult at all times in public waiting areas and cafeterias.
  • Visitors are highly encouraged to wash or sanitize hands frequently while at the hospital to prevent getting the flu or potentially spreading any illness.

“While we understand visitor restrictions can be difficult, they are necessary to prevent the spread of flu and other respiratory viruses within our hospitals,” said Joan Ivaska, senior director of infection prevention at Banner Health. RSV is a seasonal respiratory virus that has arrived in Arizona ahead of schedule. Public health officials also believe that this year’s flu season will be more intense than in years past.

As of data gathered Nov. 9 in Maricopa County, there are around 521 active cases of influenza flu and RSV for 2022-2023. So far there have been no deaths. The department has declared a regional outbreak of influenza and said that less than half of Arizona counties have tracked cases. To check out the tracker, click here. At a national level, more than 6,400 individuals were hospitalized this week due to the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Banner Health officials are encouraging everyone to get their flu and COVID-19 shot in anticipation for the winter. It takes around two weeks for full protection against the flu virus. To learn more about Banner Health, click here.

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