April 30, 2009
OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) - Patient visitors are being asked to limit their visitation to a phone call at East Alabama Medical Center. EAMC hospital officials say they expect they will have some swine flu cases in the future, and the new policy will limit the strain's ability to spread.
Hospital visitor Debra Riley brought her grandson to see his mother who gave birth to a baby girl on Thursday. The 4-year-old got to see his new baby sister for the very first time. However, he won't be able to make another visit to the hospital even one day later.
"We did not know about the policy until we came today" Riley said. East Alabama Medical Center is asking visitors under the age of 13 to not visit the hospital as an effort to protect children from any cases of Swine Flu that might emerge.
"That age group has less immunity than adults do and nobody has been exposed to this particular type of virus in the U.S. So we are taking these precautions to protect our visitors," Benja Morgan, the Infectious Control Manager said.
All other visitors who aren't immediate family are also being asked to call instead of stop by. "Not to say that we don't want you to come to the hospital and visit, but right now for everyone's best interest, it would be good to stay at home, and call your loved ones on the phone," Morgan said
So far, there have been no confirmed cases of swine flu in East Alabama, but hospital officials do expect some will emerge. "There's no way we're going to dodge this bullet. I believe we're gong to have some. We've been been very fortunate not to have any so far," Morgan said.
Many visitors say they can understand why the hospital is taking the precaution. "People are coming back everyday from visiting mexico or visiting outside the country, and you never know who amongst you could come back with it. So you're never too early to do it," one visitor said.