Lakes Regional Healthcare implements visitor restrictions
The Iowa Department of Public Health has reported high levels of influenza in northwest Iowa as identified through community school absenteeism and the reported number of cases of influenza. The level has necessitated Lakes Regional Healthcare (LRH) in Spirit Lake to implement restrictions on those visiting hospital patients.
The restrictions were put into place on Thursday, Jan. 24. Visitor restrictions currently in place maintain that:
• Members of the patient's immediate family, which include spouses, partners, and children ages 18 and older, are allowed to visit hospital patients. An exception may be made at the Birth Center for healthy grandparents and siblings under 18 years of age. All Birth Center visitors will be screened before entering the unit while visitor restrictions are implemented.
• No one who is ill with influenza-like symptoms will be allowed to visit patients. These symptoms include coughing, sneezing, fever, runny nose, sore throat, and/or muscle/body aches. Compassionate exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis.
Visitor restrictions will be in place until the incidence of influenza decreases to below the Iowa Department of Public Health’s threshold criteria for at least seven days.
For those that need to receive care at LRH or any of the clinics on their campus and that have coughing and sneezing symptoms, masks and hand-hygiene stations are available at each hospital and department entrance to use. Those that are coughing and sneezing are also encouraged to sit at least three feet away from others in common waiting areas and to cough or sneeze into their elbow or a tissue.
There is still time to get vaccinated against the flu. Appointments for flu shots can be made by calling Dickinson County Public Health at 712-339-6050. Dickinson County Public Health is located at LRH inside their west entrance off Highway 71 in Spirit Lake. The cost per vaccination at Dickinson County Public Health is $30 and most insurance plans cover the cost.
Medicare B eligible patients must bring their Medicare cards with them. Also, those without the resources through insurance or other means to pay for the flu shot may be able to receive help from Dickinson County Public Health.