Health

Cedar Rapids hospitals lift visitor restrictions

Flu-related restrictions remain in NICU

Mercy Medical Center in an aerial photograph in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, May 14, 2014. The hospital is in the MedQuarter Regional Medical District. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette-KCRG TV9)
Mercy Medical Center in an aerial photograph in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, May 14, 2014. The hospital is in the MedQuarter Regional Medical District. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette-KCRG TV9)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids hospitals lifted visitor restrictions this week as this year’s worse than normal flu season winds up.

Mercy Medical Center and UnityPoint-St. Luke’s Hospital announced Tuesday they have lifted visitor restrictions in the hospital, obstetric and pediatric areas.

Restrictions on visitors remain in both hospitals’ neonatal intensive care units. Children are not allowed to visit, but parents and grandparents are allowed if they are in good health, according to the news release.

Policies limiting patient visits were put in place during this year’s influenza season, which has caused 207 influenza-related deaths since Oct. 1 — double the number of last year, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Iowa also saw 103 influenza-related hospitalizations the week that ended March 3, bringing the flu season’s total admissions to 1,522.

Other area hospitals, including University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and Mercy Iowa City, also implemented similar visitation policies to prevent the spread of the virus.

The number of influenza cases in the Cedar Rapids area is declining, but hospital officials remain on the lookout.

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St. Luke’s and Mercy will continue to communicate with the Linn County Department of Public Health and a rise in flu activity is noted, the restrictions will be put back into place, the news release said.

l Comments: (319) 368-8536; michaela.ramm@thegazette.com

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