SVMC Restricts Visitors During Flu Season

Contact: Eileen Druckenmiller
(802) 447-5558

With the activity level of the H1N1 flu widespread, Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC) will temporarily change its visitor policy starting Wednesday, Nov. 11. Visitors will be allowed to enter only through the hospital’s main entrance with visitation hours limited to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The number of visitors is restricted to two per patient at any time. People age 18 and under are not allowed to visit. Children should not accompany adults who are coming to SVMC for an outpatient service. These changes do not apply to children who are at SVMC for treatment.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expects the H1N1 flu to be the predominant flu strain this flu season. Several groups have been identified as having a higher risk of becoming seriously ill with the H1N1 flu, including pregnant women and children ages six months to 24 years. Locally, several schools have been closed and reported cases of the flu have increased in the community because someone is contagious before showing symptoms of the flu, limiting visitors is the best way to protect our patients as well as our visitors.

For the safety of your family, friends and others, take the necessary precautions to safeguard yourself from catching or spreading the virus. The CDC recommends social distancing and avoiding public settings where the flu may be easily spread. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water — it’s the single most important thing you can do to prevent the spread of any contagious disease. Avoid touching your mouth and eyes and cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue, not into your hand or the air.

If you’re sick, stay home. Limit contact with others until you are symptom-free (without medication) for at least 24 hours. A trip to the hospital emergency department is not necessary unless you develop severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing, bluish or gray skin color, the inability to drink, persistent vomiting, confusion, or flu-like symptoms which improve but then suddenly reappear. For common flu symptoms, it’s best to first contact your medical provider by phone if you need medical advice.

For information on the availability of and questions about the H1N1 vaccine, call one of the following: in New York, call their H1N1 Flu Hotline at 1-800-808-1987. In Vermont, call 2-1-1.

SVMC is a subsidiary of Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC). SVHC is a community-based, not-for-profit health system that exists solely for the benefit of its community. SVHC has a vision to make the communities it serves the healthiest in the nation.