South Carolina on red alert after Columbia hospitals restrict visitors after flu outbreak

December 28, 2023 by No Comments

The state of South Carolina is experiencing a significant increase in influenza A cases, prompting healthcare providers to implement new measures to protect patients and staff. This particularly virulent strain has led to concerns about further spread, particularly within hospital settings.

In response, the Prisma Health hospital system has enacted stricter visitor guidelines at its Columbia-area facilities. Effective December 27th, children under the age of 16 are temporarily prohibited from visiting patients. Additionally, the health system urges all visitors to wear masks while on hospital premises.

According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, over 19,000 confirmed influenza cases have been reported within the state as of December 16th. This figure represents a concerning trend, with over 1,100 hospitalizations and 12 deaths already attributed to the current flu season.

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Helmut Albrecht addressed the situation at a recent press conference, highlighting the surge in Influenza A and the presence of a smaller wave of Influenza B. While most flu cases do not necessitate hospitalization, Dr. Albrecht expressed concern regarding the current rates of hospitalization and mortality associated with the flu.

These precautionary measures aim to protect vulnerable patients from contracting the flu during their hospital stays and mitigate the risk of transmission among healthcare workers. Dr. Albrecht emphasized the potential severity of the situation, noting that thousands of lives nationwide are lost to influenza each year.

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