"It really rose a lot in the first week in January," says Dr. Nicolas Restrep, Vice-President of Medical Affairs at the
Visitation has been restricted to only two time frames throughout the day; and . Each room can only have two visitors at a time, and each visitor must be at least 18 years old. Hospital entrances have also been limited for visitors.
"We have two different entrances that are designated areas where we're trying to traffic visitors to," Restrepo says. "In these two areas, there's a procedure where you check-in for what room you're going to."
Visitors at the
The hospital staff is asking people to stay at home if they feel sick.
"One of the issues is that you're contagious before you really become symptomatic," Restrepo says. "So, you may not know that tomorrow, you're going to be worse and today you may be contagious," he adds. "So, in the best interest of your family member or your loved one, please at this point , visit by telephone. Visit by email. Restrict visitation to the hospital."
Patients at the
The hospital has seen so many flu patients since December, and the emergency room has had to serve as a back-up space.
"I think one day we had 115 percent hospital-wide occupancy," says Desiree Brunell, the Director of the Emergency Department at the
Although some reports say this year's influenza is resisting the vaccine, the local health department says, in fact, it is working as expected with the current strain.
"In the past, we thought in general that flu vaccination may be as much as 90-percent effective," says Dr. Charles Devine, the Lord Fairfax District Health Director for the Virginia Department of Health. "It looks like that probably was an optimistic estimate. The vaccine appears to be closer to 60 to 70 percent effective. But, it is important to remember that the vaccine is safe and vaccination remains the single best tool that we have to prevent influenza."
The visitation restrictions started Sunday at all Valley Health hospitals, including