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UCHealth Reinforces Protocols for Hospital Visitors Amid Rising Respiratory Illnesses: Steps to a Safer Holiday Season

As the holiday season beckons, healthcare institutions, specifically UCHealth, are becoming increasingly vigilant about their visitor policies in light of an upswing in hospitalizations connected to respiratory conditions. As per a recent statement, UCHealth hospitals were catering to 75 patients with confirmed COVID-19 infections, out of which 28 were admitted to Northern Colorado hospitals.

Dr. Michelle Barron, a prominent infectious disease expert, and senior medical director of infection prevention and control for UCHealth articulated that we have officially entered the respiratory virus season. This spans a range of diseases from the conventional common cold to graver illnesses. Dr. Barron vehemently advised individuals to opt for their flu and COVID-19 vaccinations if they haven’t already, considering the vaccines take an estimated two weeks to achieve full effectiveness. Additionally, the demographic comprising individuals aged 60 and above, and those within 32-36 weeks of pregnancy, have the option of receiving vaccines catering to the prevention of the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). Barron further empowered individuals to make sensible choices by refraining from stepping out if they are unwell, and thereby avoiding the possibility of infecting others, particularly the elderly.

In their quest to safeguard patients, visitors, and employees, UCHealth has enforced seasonal visitor restrictions across its hospitals and clinics. The stipulations entail each patient can have an unlimited number of visitors per day, but not exceeding two at any given time, with visiting hours set between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. Children below the age of 12 are barred from accessing high-risk areas such as intensive care units, transplant zones, oncology inpatient floors, and pediatric units incorporating NICUs and special care nurseries. These regulations are likewise applicable to some units where ICU and oncology patients are housed.

Visitors exhibiting symptoms of respiratory ailments are required to wear a mask within the facility or to postpone their visit until they regain their health. Further precautionary measures for a healthy holiday season prescribed by Barron include regular hand-washing, wearing masks in crowded indoor scenarios especially if immunocompromised, and seeking immediate medical assistance during a health emergency. Preventive care including regular vaccinations for children and adults and maintaining regular medication for chronic conditions like diabetes is also recommended.


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