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Hospitals restrict visitors as flu surges in Monroe County

Laboratory-confirmed flu cases are surging in Monroe County.
Monroe County Public Health Department and University of Rochester Medical Center Center for Community Health & Prevention
Laboratory-confirmed flu cases are surging in Monroe County.

The University of Rochester Medical Center and Rochester Regional Health both announced that they will begin restricting visitors to their hospitals now that the number of flu cases in Monroe County has more than doubled in the last week.

Monroe County also has the highest number of reported flu cases in the state outside of the New York City metro area, according to the state health department.

County health commissioner Michael Mendoza said the data indicated the season is approaching its peak.

Still, he said, it’s not too late to take steps to stay healthy.

“There’s still a whole lot of flu season left,” he said. “I still think it’s important for us to look ahead, take whatever precautions we can.”

Mendoza suggested covering coughs and washing hands frequently and thoroughly. But the most important precaution, he said, “is to get your flu shot. It is not too late to get your flu shot.”

In spite of the recent surge in diagnosed flu cases, Mendoza said overall the season is largely normal.

“We’re not far off from the time when we started seeing this kind of flu activity last season,” he said.

One person, a child under the age of 4, has died of the flu this season in Monroe County.

Rochester Regional Health said it would begin restricting visitors to its Rochester General and Unity hospitals starting Tuesday morning to prevent the spread of the flu.

URMC made a similar announcement regarding visitors to Strong Memorial Hospital, Golisano Children’s Hospital and the Wilmot Cancer Center.

“Flu is sometimes a serious illness in someone who’s healthy, but it can be especially dangerous for hospitalized patients with underlying illnesses,” said URMC epidemiologist Paul Graman.

Brett was the health reporter and a producer at WXXI News. He has a master’s degree from the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism.
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