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Banner Health asks people with cold, flu to not visit patients

(Public Domain Photo)

PHOENIX — Banner Health has a message for people with the cold or flu who want to visit patients: Get better before you stop by, please.

In a press release, the health care company said it was putting the policy in place because it was concerned this flu season could be worse than normal.

“We are asking anybody who is ill with either cold or flu symptoms, vomiting or diarrhea to please, please do not come into the hospital to make visitation,” Dr. Marjorie Bessel, the company’s chief medical officer, said.

Those under the age of 13 will not be allowed to see patients, but exceptions will be made for healthy children visiting a new sibling.

Children 12 and under must be supervised by an adult at all times.

Banner, which operates facilities in six states, has used the same policy several times over the past few years.

Arizona has already seen a large jump in the number of confirmed cases of the illness this year.

“We’ve had 250 cases of flu reported so far this year across the state,” Jessica Rigler, chief of the Bureau of Epidemiology and Disease Control at the Arizona Department of Health Services, said last month.

“Usually, we see about 36 cases by this time.”

The flu season typically begins in October. Rigler said her department has received reports of about 70 or so cases per week this year.

Rigler’s department encouraged people earlier this year to get flu shots.

Most doctors’ offices, clinics and pharmacies offer the shot. Rigler said everyone above 6 months old needs one.

Numerous chains offer the shots for free.

KTAR News’ Atlan Hassard and Jeremy Foster contributed to this report.

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