While the the Centers for Disease Control is reporting widespread flu outbreaks in 47 states, including Virginia, Loudoun County is so far staying healthy, according to local health department officials.
Dr. David Goodfriend, director of the Loudoun County Department of Health, said locally the volume of flu patients has increased, but not to a level that the emergency rooms and doctors’ offices are reporting an inability to keep up with the traffic.
Flu vaccines are still available in Loudoun County, Goodfriend said.
“We want to make sure people are aware that it’s not too late to get vaccinated,” he said.
While some isolated pharmacies or doctor’s offices may be out of flu vaccinations, the director said there have been no reports of a shortage in Loudoun County.
He encouraged residents who have been vaccinated to take additional steps to keep from getting ill, including: keeping a good distance from an infected individual, frequent hand washing and getting plenty of rest and exercise.
Still while Loudoun may been spared the worst of the outbreak so far, surrounding counties are not as fortunate.
On Friday, officials with Inova Hospital released a statement saying they were implementing visitation restrictions in response to an increase in influenza patients.
The measures, hospital officials said, are designed to protect patients, visitors and staff from exposure to the flu. These restrictions are in effect system wide at all Inova hospital inpatient units.
· No visitors under the age of 18
· No visitors with any symptoms of influenza-like illness
· Two blocks of visiting hours – from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
· Visitors will be limited to two persons
· Visitors may be issued masks or other protective clothing for use when visiting
· For Women’s and Children’s Units as well as Adult Critical Care and Oncology patients additional measures may apply.
· Patient care companions are exempt
“These temporary measures will help protect against influenza infection of the most vulnerable among us, including inpatients with compromised immune systems as well as our caregivers,” said Dr. Loring Flint, Inova’s chief medical officer in a prepared statement. “We appreciate everyone’s consideration and cooperation as, together, we work to assure the health and safety of our community during this challenging flu season.”
For more information on Inova flu vaccination clinics, visit: inovanewsroom.org/inova-schedules-additional-flu-vaccination-clinics/
According to the CDC, 20 children have died from the flu so far during the 2012-2013 season. The CDC does not keep count of adult deaths but estimates the flu kills about 24,000 people every year.
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