FLU: Jersey Shore Area Hospitals Restrict, Instruct Visitors

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JERSEY SHORE – To protect patients from contracting the flu during the height of the season, area hospitals are placing restrictions on visitors, or at the very least asking them to wash their hands.

Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin and Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune are all owned by Hackensack Meridian Health. Visitor guidelines have changed because of the flu season; all visitors must be at least 12 years old or older, even if they’ve had the flu shot. Anyone with a fever and cough is being asked to stay home. Healthy visitors are reminded to wash their hands, cover any coughs, and ask for a mask if they are ill but must visit.

Community Medical Center in Toms River and Monmouth Medical Center, with campuses in Long Branch and Lakewood, are owned by RWJBarnabas Health. They are asking that anyone who is sick with a cough or respiratory illness to refrain from visiting the hospital. They suggest calling or using social media applications to visit. Healthy visitors are reminded to wash their hands before and after their visits.

CentraState Healthcare System in Freehold released its restrictions in a press release Thursday, banning anyone younger than 14 from hospital visits without permission from a floor manager. Anyone with a respiratory illness is being asked to refrain from visiting, but if they must travel through the hospital, to use a mask.

The Centers for Disease Control has reported that those seeking medical attention for influenza has increased from a baseline of 2.2 percent to 6.6 percent at January’s end and is the highest reported since the 2009 pandemic.