SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — One group of central Illinois hospitals has announced they are implementing visitor restrictions.
Memorial Health announced Tuesday they are limiting two visitors per patient at their hospitals. Those visitors must be 18 years or older and show no signs of illness.
“”For the safety of patients and their families as well as Memorial Health colleagues, we have implemented these restrictions at our five hospitals to help curb the spread of respiratory illnesses,” Memorial Health said in a statement.
Memorial Health is following the Illinois Department of Public Health’s recommendations for hospitals. The restrictions apply to all five hospitals in Springfield, Jacksonville, Decatur, Lincoln and Taylorville, but not any outpatient locations.
“IDPH is closely tracking the recent increase in respiratory viruses statewide and around the nation,” the agency said in a statement to WCIA. “We are working with our hospital partners to facilitate communication and manage their clinical caseloads.”
IDPH recommends washing hands frequently, getting all vaccinations, and covering their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing to minimize the spread of respiratory illness.
Public health officials like Sangamon County Public Health Director Gail O’Neill say the winter weather causes an uptick in spreading viruses.
“It’s getting time where it’s cold or colder, and everybody will be inside,” O’Neill said. “We aren’t wearing masks like we did in the past couple years. So that has been a concern for public health and the doctors, that we may see an increase of respiratory illness.”
O’Neill said the hospitals are dealing with three common illnesses: COVID-19, the flu, and RSV.
“The hospitals really are having patients with RSV, both the very young and older population.” O’Neill said. “And we’ve heard of at least three cases of people with influenza being in the intensive care unit. And that’s really about the only time we know real numbers on how many people have influenza.”
Other local hospitals have various different visitor restrictions including Carle, OSF Healthcare, and HSHS St. John’s.
For additional information about respiratory illnesses, including symptoms and prevention, visit the CDC website.