PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Several hospitals in Hampton Roads are recommending patients and visitors wear masks to help prevent the spread of the flu.
Public health officials report seasonal influenza cases in Virginia and North Carolina are now at the highest level since the main circulating strain “drifted” or changed, and this year’s vaccine is a poor match to that strain.
In a press release sent out by Sentara Healthcare, officials say vaccines are not 100 percent effective and that’s why they are recommending all patients and visitors to wear a mask when entering hospitals, freestanding emergency departments, urgent care centers, and branch clinics.
Individuals displaying symptoms of influenza-like illness are asked not to visit patients at area hospitals. Symptoms of flu include: fever and respiratory illness symptoms such as cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, chills, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea.
Officials recommend people stay home when sick, wash hands frequently, get vaccinated and cough into sleeves or tissues.
The recommendation to wear a mask when entering healthcare facilities will remain in effect during the flu season, while flu in the region is high.
Participating hospitals and emergency departments include:
- Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center
- Bon Secours Mary Immaculate Hospital
- Bon Secours Maryview Medical Center
- Bon Secours Health Center at Harbour View
- Chesapeake Regional Medical Center
- Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters
- Halifax Regional Hospital
- Naval Medical Center Portsmouth
- Riverside Doctors’ Hospital
- Riverside Regional Medical Center
- Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital
- Riverside Tappahannock Hospital
- Riverside Walter Reed Hospital
- Sentara Albemarle Medical Center
- Sentara CarePlex Hospital and Orthopaedic Hospital at Sentara CarePlex
- Sentara Leigh Hospital
- Sentara Norfolk General Hospital and Sentara Heart Hospital
- Sentara Obici Hospital
- Sentara Princess Anne Hospital
- Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital
- Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center
- Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center
- Sentara Freestanding Emergency Departments at BelleHarbour, Port Warwick, Independence, and Lake Ridge
- Southampton Memorial Hospital
- Martha Jefferson Hospital
- Martha Jefferson Emergency Department at Proffit Road
- Sentara RMH Medical Center