NJ Hospitals Restrict Visits as CDC Reports at Least 10,000 Flu Deaths Nationally

A radiology technician looks at a chest X-ray of a child suffering from flu symptoms at Upson Regional Medical Center in Thomaston, Ga., Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. The bad flu season has contributed to the rural hospital's 25 percent increase in emergency room patients from a year ago. A government …
AP Photo/David Goldman

Two New Jersey hospitals will not allow anyone under 12 years of age to visit patients beginning on Monday as the state deals with high levels of influenza or flu.

The Ashbury Park Press reported on the development:

Flu cases, which began to spike at the end of December, made up 8 percent of emergency room visits and about 6 percent of school absentees for the week ending Jan. 25, according to the New Jersey Health Department.

The department has reported two pediatric deaths this season from the flu. And it said flu activity is high in every county.

Hackensack Meridian Health, which operates both Jersey Shore University and Ocean Medical Center, said the restriction applies only to visitors, not people seeking treatment or testing.

“Overall, we’re seeing flu activity that’s higher than typical, but not unusual,” Dr. Edward Lifshitz, medical director of the communicable disease service at the state’s health department, said in the Press report.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports the range of flu infections, hospitalizations and deaths from Oct. 1 2019 to January 25, 2020 across the United States:

  • Between 19 and 26 million diagnosed cases
  • Between 180,000 and 310,00 flu hospitalizations
  • Between 10,000 and 26,000 deaths

“Because influenza surveillance does not capture all cases of flu that occur in the U.S., CDC provides these estimated ranges to better reflect the larger burden of influenza. These estimates are calculated based on CDC’s weekly influenza surveillance data and are preliminary,” the CDC website states.

“Influenza (flu) can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Flu is different from a cold. Flu usually comes on suddenly,” the website states.

The CDC reports symptoms can include cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, and fatigue. Fever can also be a symptom, although not everyone with the flu has a fever.

The CDC recommends that everyone six months or older should get an annual flu shot,

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