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N.J. hospitals ban children from visiting because of surging flu levels – NJ.com

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N.J. hospitals ban children from visiting because of surging flu levels – NJ.com

The recent surge of influenza in New Jersey and the first pediatric flu-related death has hospitals taking extra precautions, limiting visits from children and people with flu-like symptoms.

Inspira Health and Atlantic Health are among the systems in the state ramping up restrictions.

Inspira Health, which has four facilities in South Jersey, said in a statement that it is no longer permitting visits from children younger than 13 years old or people with a fever, cough or symptoms such as a sore throat, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Those people may visit after being free of symptoms for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.

The hospital system noted that anyone planning to visit a patient in a specialty area at any of its locations (maternity, pediatrics, neonatal intensive care or behavioral health) should call ahead, as “additional restrictions may be put in place for specific departments.”

Inspira Health’s facilities include Inspira Medical Centers Elmer, Vineland and Woodbury; and Inspira Health Center Bridgeton.

Atlantic Health System also has implemented age and other restrictions at its facilities.

Children younger than 16 and people feeling sick are prohibited from visiting the maternity, neonatal intensive care unit, pediatric intensive care unit and emergency departments, a spokeswoman said in an email.

“By limiting the number of people who enter our facilities, we’re able to better control the spread of viruses and infections, and minimize unnecessary risk of exposure,” Laura Anderson, director of infection prevention at Atlantic Health System, said in a statement.

Atlantic Health System has six locations in New Jersey:

  • Morristown Medical Center in Morristown
  • Overlook Medical Center in Summit
  • Newton Medical Center in Newton
  • Chilton Medical Center in Pompton Plains
  • Hackettstown Medical Center in Hackettstown
  • Goryeb Children’s Hospital in Morristown

The flu is officially widespread in all 21 counties, according to state health officials. So make sure you’re taking extra measures, including getting a flu shot, washing your hands and covering those coughs, health experts say.

A child from Central Jersey died late last month from a flu-related illness, according to state officials, marking the first pediatric flu death in the state this season.

Spencer Kent may be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @SpencerMKent. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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