Public health emergency declaration triggers Brooks visitation restrictions

In light of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s recent declaration of an influenza public health emergency, Brooks Memorial Hospital has enhanced its infection prevention precautions due to the severity of local flu activity.

At this time, Brooks requests that only family members visit patients in the hospital, and should limit their exposure here, and to not visit if they feel ill.

All visitors should be mindful of and strictly adhere to precautions noted on the bright orange Droplet Isolation signage on the floors. In addition to standard precautions, droplet precaution areas require everyone to wash their hands, wear a gown, gloves and mask to prevent diseases or germs that are spread in tiny droplets caused by coughing and sneezing

According to Lisa Maslak, Brooks’ Director of Infection Control, “Under normal circumstances, we place a high value on the presence of family and friends to provide emotional support and comfort as part of our patients’ recovery process. However, due to the severity of flu season at this time, visitors can help us meet the healthcare needs of their loved one by staying home if they feel ill.”

Those in our community seeking treatment for flu-like symptoms must wear a mask upon arrival so as to not expose others to illness. Masks and hand sanitizers are available at all hospital entrances.

To help stop the spread of the flu virus, Brooks reminds community members of these important precautions:

• Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.

• Get vaccinated. It’s not too late to get your flu shot.

• Always cover your cough, but never with your hand. Cough into your bent elbow.

• When using hand sanitizer, hands need to be rubbed vigorously until dry. Friction is the only way to ensure its effectiveness.

• Grocery store cart handles are a common host of germs. Use sanitary wipes provided to clean cart handles before using.

• Be mindful that a common cold comes on slowly, whereas the flu tends to come on suddenly and severely.

For more information on Governor Cuomo’s executive order to combat widespread flu epidemic in New York, visit https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-signs-executive-order-combat-widespread-flu-epidemic-new-york. For tips on how to take action to help prevent the spread of flu, visit https://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm.