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Flu Sends Most Number Of Connecticut Patients To ER Since 2009

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As one of the worst flu seasons in recent memory continues, Middlesex Hospital has changed its visitor policies to combat spread of the virus.

The hospital said only immediate family members or one designated support person can visit a patient. And if you’ve got flu-like symptoms, you won’t be permitted to visit at all.

“We’re trying to prevent our visitors from unknowingly bringing in the flu to our patients who are already dealing with some issues,” said Jodi Parisi, the hospital’s manager of infection prevention. “Additionally, because we do have a high population of patients in the hospital currently with the flu, we’re protecting the visitors themselves.”

Parisi said 20 percent of all patients at the hospital are experiencing flu-like symptoms. She recommended good hand hygiene as the number one way to prevent the flu.

At least 63 people have died in Connecticut, while 1,360 victims have been hospitalized. Those numbers come from the Connecticut Department of Public Health, who says that the number of emergency room visits for this flu season is the most since 2009.

Dr. Richard Martinello, the medical director for infection prevention at Yale-New Haven Hospital, said the hospital is still seeing patients for flu-related symptoms at a constant rate and having to check them in for a stay.

“During a typical flu season, it’s not unusual to see influenza still circulating even as we get into March, April, and sometimes even May,” Martinello said. “While it would have of course been better to get vaccinated before flu started to circulate, if you’re not vaccinated, you should still go get your vaccination.”

In addition to getting the flu shot, he said not to cough or sneeze into your hands -- do it into your elbow. That’ll help prevent respiratory droplets from getting onto others.

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