FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - The number of confirmed flu cases continues to rise in Kentucky, leading some hospitals to issue restrictions to visitors.
According to the Kentucky Department for Public Health, 2,218 new cases were reported during the period Dec. 29 through Jan. 4, the latest period for which figures are available, with the number of confirmed cases this flu season standing at 8,106.
There have also been 14 deaths attributed to the flu, 13 of which were people 18 years of age or older.
The Centers for Disease Control and Preventions has Kentucky in the “widespread” category for flu, which is the highest category.
A total of 3,348 of those cases, or 41 percent, have been reported in Jefferson County. Perry County has had 595, Pike County 351, Bullitt County 348 and Barren County rounds out the top five with 342.
UK HealthCare temporarily changed its inpatient hospital visitation policy on Thursday to be proactive in helping protect the health and well-being of patients and health care workers during this flu season.
The new restrictions include:
--No visitors under the age of 12 (except in bone narrow transplant where no visitors under the age of 18 are permitted).
-- No visitors with any symptoms of flu-like illness.
--Only two visitors will be permitted in a patient’s room at one time.
--Visitors may be issued masks or other protective clothing for use when visiting.
--Additional restrictions may be in place in special care units such as women's and children’s units, critical care and oncology units.
However, UK Healthcare notes compassionate visitation exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis.
"These procedures are designed to help protect patients, visitors and staff from exposure to the flu and are in effect at all UK HealthCare inpatient units, including University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, Kentucky Children's Hospital, UK Good Samaritan Hospital and Eastern State Hospital," said Dr. Derek Forster, medical director for infection prevention and control at UK HealthCare.
“It’s not too late to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Sarah Moyer, director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness. “Flu vaccination is always the best way to prevent flu and its potentially serious complications. “If you’re sick, please see a healthcare provider right away. Antiviral medications may be a treatment option that can lessen your symptoms and shorten the time you are sick.”