Jan 10, 2017
Public health officials report seasonal influenza-like illness in Hampton Roads and northeast North Carolina is now at a high level.
Effective immediately, local area hospitals and healthcare systems strongly recommend all patients and visitors, including those seeking outpatient services, wear a mask inside hospitals, medical facilities and physician practices to protect the community from the spread of flu. Masks and hand sanitizer are available at facility entrances for public use.
All patients and visitors, even those who already had a flu vaccine, are strongly encouraged to wear masks inside healthcare facilities. Vaccine is the best prevention available, but they are not 100% effective. Masking provides an added layer of protection from the potentially deadly disease.
As healthcare providers, our goal is to protect the community from disease. Data suggests infected persons can transmit the virus as much as 24 hours before displaying symptoms. This community-wide recommendation helps protect our patients, visitors and staff from exposure to flu, even before symptoms occur.
Individuals displaying symptoms of influenza-like illness are asked not to visit patients at area hospitals. Symptoms of flu include fever and respiratory illness symptoms such as cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, chills, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea.
The recommendation to wear a mask when entering healthcare facilities will remain in effect during the flu season while the disease is at widespread levels.
Additional measures to limit the spread of disease, especially flu, include washing hands frequently, staying home when sick, getting vaccinated and coughing into sleeves or tissues.
Participating medical entities include:
Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center
Bon Secours Mary Immaculate Hospital
Bon Secours Maryview Medical Center
Bon Secours Health Center at Harbour View
Chesapeake Regional Healthcare
Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters
Naval Medical Center Portsmouth
Riverside Doctors’ Hospital
Riverside Regional Medical Center
Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital
Riverside Tappahannock Hospital
Riverside Walter Reed Hospital
Sentara Albemarle Medical Center
Sentara CarePlex Hospital and Orthopedic Hospital at Sentara CarePlex
Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital
Sentara Leigh Hospital
Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital
Sentara Martha Jefferson Emergency Department at Proffit Road
Sentara Norfolk General Hospital and Sentara Heart Hospital
Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center
Sentara Obici Hospital
Sentara Princess Anne Hospital
Sentara RMH Medical Center
Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital
Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center
Sentara Freestanding Emergency Departments at BelleHarbour, Port Warwick, Independence and Lake Ridge