PORTLAND – Providence Health & Services is restricting visitors to its eight Oregon hospitals after the H1N1 flu virus has become widespread in the state and other hospitals are also taking precautions.
Visitors in most areas of Providence hospitals must be 18 or older or members of an immediate family. In birth centers, pediatrics and the intensive care unit, all visitors must be over 18 and all patients are restricted to two visitors at a time, according to Laura Klink with Providence St. Vincent Medical Center.
Health care workers at Kaiser Permanente are required to wear a surgical mask when caring for patients. Also, "respiratory etiquette stations" around the facilities have posters explaining the importance of covering your cough, as well as using hand sanitizer, tissue and masks.
Adventist Health posted signs throughout its Portland hospital, asking people not to visit patients if they have any flu symptoms, including a cough, chills, fever, runny nose, or sore throat. Bottles of hand sanitizer were also being distributed at key points throughout the hospital.
More: Ore. Flu Prevention
Local emergency rooms have been quickly filling up with people experiencing flu symptoms and doctors said they are seeing a rise in H1N1, also known as swine flu, which caused a pandemic back in 2009.
A 5-year-old boy from Eugene died from the flu at Oregon Health & Science University after falling ill on Christmas day, according to officials from the hospital.
Across the country, the flu has been confirmed in every state with many reporting widespread flu activity, according to the Centers for Disease Control.