Scripps Hospitals have put in place several visitor restrictions at their hospitals around San Diego in an effort to protect staff and patients from the flu.
The temporary measures put in place Monday aim to prevent flu infections following news from the County’s Health and Human Services that two people in San Diego died from the flu.
All visitors will be screened starting Monday, Scripps spokesman Leonel Sanchez said, and those visitors displaying flu-like symptoms will be asked to leave.
Children 14 years old and under will not be allowed inside – including lobbies and common areas -- unless they are patients or have appointments, Sanchez said. Patients will also be limited to a maximum of four visitors a day.
"And it only takes a minute," said hospital visitor Seth Doughty. "If you're healthy coming in the hospital, they can tell just by looking at you. If you come in carrying some sort of disease, you'll be showing some kind of symptoms."
Exceptions to the temporary measures will be permitted by officials for special circumstances.
Scripps physicians said it is not too late to receive a flu shot. Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent getting the flu, doctors suggest.
Still, health officials said influenza this winter is spreading and sickening San Diegans at a faster rate than last year’s flu season: there have been 263 confirmed cases to date, more than double last year’s number.
Nationwide, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has described this flu season as an “epidemic.”
The restrictions started 8 a.m. Monday and include Scripps Mercy Hospital San Diego, Scripps Mercy Hospital Chula Vista, Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas and Scripps Green Hospital in La Jolla.
The county had 70 flu deaths last year.