Temporary visitor restrictions in place at UNC Hospitals and clinics

We are experiencing an early, active flu season – we have already had three deaths related to the flu at UNC Hospitals and have reported more than 125 positive influenza cases (most typed as A (H1N1)).

Please review the following information and act accordingly:


Patient Care

  • All patients with known/suspected influenza should be placed on Droplet Precautions.
  • All clinics should screen patients for respiratory symptoms and if present should immediately place a mask on the patient, request that the patient practice hand hygiene and move the patient as rapidly as possible to a private room for evaluation. 

    Hospital Epidemiology recommends that all Outpatient Care Services clinics have a respiratory etiquette “station” in their waiting/reception area. These “stations” should have this sign, surgical masks, tissues, and alcohol-based hand rubs. (Gloves are not a part of a respiratory etiquette station.) A trash can should be close for folks to dispose of contaminated tissues.

    The CD numbers for the items required for a respiratory etiquette station in your waiting rooms and reception areas are as follows:

    • Mask with earloops: Item #050176        
    • Child size mask with earloops: Item #050471        
    • Sanitizer Hand Foam Purell Pump (18 oz.): tem #050886   
    • Regular Facial Tissue Box: Item #000463   

Co-workers

  • Per UNC Hospitals’ policy, co-workers with fever and either cough or sore throat should stay home and not work, even if they have received a flu vaccine.  

Visitor restrictions

  • All visitors with respiratory symptoms should be prohibited from visiting patients.  
  • Currently children 12 years and younger are not allowed to visit in the Pediatric ICU or Neonatal Critical Care Unit.  
  • Beginning Monday Jan. 6, 2014, children less than 12 years of age will be prohibited from visiting patients in the N.C. Children’s and N.C. Cancer Hospitals. Normal visiting policies will remain in effect for the remaining areas within UNC Hospitals.

Exceptions to visitor restrictions

  • Exceptions to this policy may be made by the nursing staff in consultation with the attending physician. These exceptions must be considered carefully and should follow our current administrative policy on visiting hours and regulations.
  • Special visiting privileges will be considered for terminal care, critical care situations and urgent admissions where the patient and family has not had time to make child care arrangements. Other exceptions may be necessary (e.g., mother of pediatric patient is also breast-feeding the sibling of the patient).

Additional Resources

  • For more background, view this message from Dr. David Weber, MD, MPH, Associate Chief Medical Officer, UNC Hospitals. We will continue to monitor the need to alter these restrictions as flu season progresses. I greatly appreciate your assistance with this important patient care issue.
  • View the weekly Flu Surveillance Reports on our flu webpage.
  • View our "Clean In, Clean Out" hand hygiene webpage and remember to wash your hands!
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