Bayhealth Responds to Statewide Flu Outbreak

Like health care organizations throughout Delaware and across the country, Bayhealth – Kent General and Milford Memorial – is adapting hospital facilities to meet the local community’s increased need for care. Making more inpatient beds available and increasing staffing are two of the initiatives currently underway.

Bayhealth Chief Medical Officer Gary Siegelman, MD, says the best way to prevent influenza is to get vaccinated. “Vaccines are still available and are effective against this year’s strain of flu. Physician offices, clinics and many drug stores have ample supplies of the flu vaccine.”

Bayhealth took a more aggressive approach to preparing for this year’s influenza season, starting proactively by requiring physicians, employees, volunteers and contractors to get the vaccine or wear a surgical mask in patient areas. Over 95% of Bayhealth employees received this year’s vaccine.

To complicate the upsurge in influenza cases, the community is also experiencing an increase in Norovirus – commonly known as the “stomach bug.” Symptoms include diarrhea and vomiting, and the virus is easily transmitted from person to person. Anyone can get the Norovirus. It is not related to influenza, and there is no vaccine to prevent Norovirus.

Bayhealth is asking for assistance from the community during this time. If you wish to visit patients at Kent General or Milford Memorial:

Visitors should receive approval from nursing before entering a patient room.
Only immediate family should visit.
No one under 18 years of age should visit.
Visitors should disinfect hands using the gel dispenser located inside each patient care unit as they enter and exit.

Learn more about influenza symptoms, prevention and treatment by visiting http://www.cdc.gov/flu/keyfacts.htm. The Centers for Disease Control also have information on norovirus on their website at http://www.cdc.gov/Features/Norovirus/.

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