NY officials warn of rising flu cases, hospitalizations

Flu visitation policy changes at Oishei Children's Hospital

WBEN Newsroom
January 15, 2020 - 1:00 am
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ALBANY, N.Y. (WBEN/AP) — New York state says it’s seeing more reported cases of influenza so far this season than in recent years.

The state’s online flu tracker shows the state has seen over 10,000 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza as of Jan. 4. That’s up from roughly 3,000 in 2017.

The state’s data do not represent all influenza illnesses, but officials consider it a useful indicator of influenza trends.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, ordered state health officials this month to work with hospitals to make sure they’re equipped to meet a rising number of hospitalizations.

Nearly 2,000 New Yorkers were hospitalized with lab-confirmed influenza in the first week of January, up 34% from the previous week.

Meanwhile, the state is encouraging providers to promote the flu vaccine, which officials say is likely to be effective this season.

The state declared influenza “prevalent” in December. Now, healthcare workers who are not vaccinated against influenza are required to wear surgical or procedure masks in areas where patients are typically present.

As a result of the flu risk, there are visitation policy changes at Oishei Children's Hospital in Buffalo.

Hospital correspondence says due to a severe flu/respiratory illness season in our community, Oishei Children’s Hospital is implementing our Enhanced Visitation Policy effective immediately. This does not apply to those seeking treatment.

Key takeaways below:

  • Please do not visit if you are ill.
  • Parents are not considered visitors - they are an important part of the care team!
  • No visitors under 5 years of age.
  • We strongly suggest no visitors under 14 years of age, if possible.
  • WASH YOUR HANDS AND USE ALCOHOL-BASED HAND SANITIZER FREQUENTLY ESPECIALLY BEFORE AND AFTER ENTERING A PATIENT’S ROOM

The Flu: Stay at home or go to the hospital?

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