A North County senior care facility is turning away visitors to protect residents from a recent flu outbreak.
When residents started getting sick with influenza, the Emeritus Senior Living Center on El Camino Real contacted the county Public Health Department for advice.
Health officials recommended they place ill residents in private rooms, limit visitations, avoid new admissions, restrict group activities and serve meals in private rooms, not the dining room.
Center employees did just that, putting the facility under a “period of isolation.” A sign on the door reads, “Please refrain from visiting any of our residents unless it is an emergency.”
A county spokesperson told NBC 7 two dozen other senior living centers have experienced similar flu outbreaks. He said one strain specifically affects the elderly, which is why they are seeing more cases in this especially vulnerable demographic.
Seniors’ immune systems begin to weaken as they age, making them more susceptible to influenza and serious complications from it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 90 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths in the U.S. occur in people 65 years and older.
Scripps Hospitals have also put visitor restrictions in place to protect staff and patients from the flu.
The CDC says flu deaths in the country have reached an epidemic level.