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Novant Health Restricting Access to Hospitals

Winston-Salem, N.C., Dec. 31, 2014 –Out of concern for the health and well-being of our patients, Novant Health is asking the community to keep visitors younger than 18 years old out of all its hospital facilities due to the widespread outbreak of the flu virus throughout the community. This restriction applies to all volunteers under the age of 18 as well and is effective January 2 at 8 a.m.

Adults who are experiencing runny nose, sore throat, fever or cough are also encouraged not to visit patients being treated at Novant Health facilities. However, people who are seeking treatment at hospitals are not subject to the restriction.

“The flu virus can be extremely dangerous to people who have compromised immune systems, cancer, kidney disease and other chronic conditions,” advises Tom Zweng, MD, chief medical officer for Novant Health. “In order to protect our patients, we are asking members of the public who are younger than 18 years old or who may be sick with the influenza virus to not visit us at this time.”

The restrictions apply to all hospitals throughout the Novant Health system, including Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center, Novant Health Charlotte Orthopedic Hospital, Novant Health Clemmons Medical Center, Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center, Novant Health Haymarket Medical Center, Novant Health Hemby Children’s Hospital, Novant Health Huntersville Medical Center, Novant Health Kernersville Medical Center, Novant Health Matthews Medical Center, Novant Health Medical Park Hospital, Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center, Novant Health Prince William Medical Center, Novant Health Rowan Medical Center and Novant Health Thomasville Medical Center.

All visitors to Novant Health hospitals should properly disinfect their hands by washing with soap and water or using sanitizing gel when entering and leaving the facilities in order to prevent the spread of the flu virus.

Children may be allowed access to hospital areas in the event of special circumstances such as visiting a dying family member. In these instances, parents should work with their nurse to make arrangements.

Novant Health will evaluate the need for visitation restrictions on a weekly basis or more often as needed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides regularly updated information on flu activity at this Web address:

Posted on Wednesday, December 31, 2014