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October 26, 2009
Harrington HealthCare System Bars Visits by Children

Hospital administration seeks to prevent spread of flu

Update: As of Feb. 1, 2010, based on recommendations from the Flu Task Force and Infection Prevention Committee, Harrington has lifted the restriction on visitors. We are monitoring flu activity on a daily basis and are in touch with the Department of Public Health for identification of any upward trending. If the need arises, we may have to reinstate the restriction.

SOUTHBRIDGE and WEBSTER, Mass. – October 26, 2009 – Children 16 and under will not be allowed to visit patients at the Harrington HealthCare systems two main campuses, Harrington Hospital in Southbridge and Harrington HealthCare at Hubbard in Webster, beginning Wednesday, October 28. In addition, each patient will be limited to two healthy visitors at a time.

“We are implementing this policy as a precautionary measure – before we have a problem,” said Harrington Hospital President and CEO Ed Moore. “Flu season is upon us, and we at Harrington want to do everything we can to protect our patients, their families, and our staff.”
 
Visitors will be required to check in at the main lobby and receive a visitors pass. People with flu-like symptoms are encouraged to stay home.

The policy does not prevent children from being admitted to the hospital, going to the Emergency Room, or from keeping their appointments at Harrington facilities or physician offices.

Signs announcing the change will be posted throughout Harrington Hospital and Harrington HealthCare at Hubbard.   

Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches and headache. Those with the flu can be contagious before they exhibit signs of the virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control, people infected with the H1N1 (swine) flu virus, are contagious one day before getting sick to approximately one week after getting sick. This can be longer in some people, especially children and those with weakened immune systems.

For more information about the flu, please go to: flu.gov.