Banner Health in Arizona begins visitor restrictions at hospitals
PHOENIX — Visitor restrictions were implemented across all Banner Health hospitals in Arizona on Monday in response to rising flu and respiratory virus activity.
“While we understand visitor restrictions can be difficult, they are necessary to prevent the spread of flu and other respiratory viruses within our hospitals,” Joan Ivaska, senior director of infection prevention at Banner Health, said in a press release.
“We appreciate everyone’s help in keeping our patients safe.”
Under the policy, Banner hospitals now require face masks for all visitors over the age of 2.
Visitors experiencing a fever, cough, vomiting and diarrhea are restricted under the policy, as are most visitors under 13.
Healthy siblings of newborns will be permitted to make visits in the obstetrics or pediatric units.
The policy was adopted due to the rise of flu and respiratory virus activity, including respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which is common among young children and is up 300% compared to a typical season, according to the release.
Kids 12 and under are required to be under adult supervision in public waiting areas and cafeterias.
“Children often come into contact with other children who have the common cold in the community, they have a higher risk of infection,” Dr. Anthony Ani told KTAR News 92.3 FM.
“However, RSV also impacts children disproportionately higher than older adults, so they can get very sick when they have RSV infection, especially infants and younger children.”
Visitors are also encouraged to wash and sanitize their hands frequently.
“We do encourage everyone over the age of six months to get a flu vaccine. That has been known to help reduce the severity of flu infections, and they can get a flu vaccine in any of the Banner Health urgent care facilities across the state,” Ani said.