Citizens Memorial Hospital/Citizens Memorial Health Care Foundation is changing its visitor policy at the hospital and its long-term care facilities due to an increase in flu cases in Polk and surrounding counties.

For the protection of patients and residents, children 14 and younger who are not seeking medical treatment are restricted from visiting patients in the hospital or residents in long-term care facilities. This restriction includes events in CMH community rooms.

“This past week, CMH saw a dramatic increase in lab confirmed flu cases in our service areas, as have many other surrounding counties,” says Tracie Walker, R.N., CMH employee health coordinator. “Children 14 and younger tend to have a high rate of flu illnesses, and this restriction will protect not only our patients, residents and staff, but can protect young children, too.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

• Five influenza-associated deaths have been reported in Missouri as of Dec. 23. During Week 50 (ending Dec. 16), 58 deaths involving Pneumonia and Influenza (P&I) were reported to the Bureau of Vital Records, resulting in a season-to-date total of 474 P&I associated deaths in Missouri.

• Seventeen outbreaks of influenza have been reported and three influenza or ILI-associated school closures have been reported in Missouri as of Week 51 (ending Dec. 23).

• Influenza activity sharply increased in the U.S. during Week 50 (ending Dec. 16). National influenza surveillance information is prepared by the CDC and is included in the weekly FluView report, which is available online at:

“The best way to protect you and your family against the flu is to get vaccinated, have good hand hygiene, cover coughs and sneezes, avoid touching your eyes and mouth, stay home if you are sick and stay away from others who might be sick,” says Walker. “If you do have flu symptoms, which are fever or feeling feverish, cough, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, tiredness and in some people vomiting and diarrhea, contact your medical provider immediately. When advised prompt treatment with an antiviral medication can decrease the severity and complications from the flu.”

The restriction is in effect until further notice. Updates on the flu restriction will be posted at

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