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North Carolina hospitals impose visitor restrictions to protect patients, combat flu outbreak

Dozens of hospitals, many in the Charlotte area, have banned visitors 12 years old and under.

Beth Jones Sanborn, Managing Editor

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Major health systems that serve North Carolina have enacted new visitor restrictions for hospitals, including some in the Charlotte and Winston-Salem areas, to keep already vulnerable patients safe as health professionals combat a raging flu season.

As of 7 a.m. Friday, Carolinas HealthCare System and Novant Health are restricting hospital access for visitors 12 years old and under, and Novant Health also specified that individuals age 13 years old and over who are experiencing runny nose, sore throat, fever or cough are also encouraged not to visit patients. Carolinas made a similar request.

Carolinas HealthCare, Novant Health, Cone Health and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center are all placing the restrictions at the same date and time to avoid confusion for the public, saying a "unified response" will help stem the spread of flu throughout the region.

[Also: CVS MinuteClinic links with John Muir, Novant Health, Michigan Health and University of Chicago]

According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, as of early February, 19 adult flu-associated deaths had been reported in the state. On Jan. 24, a child in Western North Carolina died from flu-related complications.

Carolinas hospitals affected by the restrictions are: Carolinas Medical Center, Levine Children's Hospital, Carolinas Medical Center-Mercy, Carolinas HealthCare System NorthEast, Carolinas HealthCare System Pineville, Carolinas HealthCare System Union, Carolinas HealthCare System University, Carolinas HealthCare System Lincoln, Carolinas HealthCare System Cleveland, Carolinas HealthCare System Kings Mountain, Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge, Carolinas HealthCare System Stanly, Carolinas HealthCare System Anson, Carolinas HealthCare System Behavioral Health-Charlotte, Carolinas HealthCare System Behavioral Health-Davidson, Carolinas Rehabilitation-Charlotte, Carolinas Rehabilitation-NorthEast, Carolinas Rehabilitation-Mt. Holly, and Pineville Inpatient Rehabilitation.

[Also: North Carolina files antitrust case against Carolinas Healthcare for allegedly stifling competition]

Novant Health hospitals affected are: Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center, Novant Health Charlotte Orthopedic Hospital, Novant Health Clemmons Medical Center, Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center, Novant Health Hemby Children's Hospital, Novant Health Huntersville Medical Center, Novant Health Kernersville Medical Center, Novant Health Matthews Medical Center, Novant Health Medical Park Hospital, Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center, Novant Health Rowan Medical Center, Novant Health Thomasville Medical Center, Novant Health UVA Health System Prince William Medical Center, Novant Health UVA Health System Haymarket Medical Center, and Novant Health UVA Health System Culpeper Medical Center.

Twitter: @BethJSanborn

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