St. Charles Implements Visitor Restrictions to Protect Patients, Caregivers


St. Charles Health System is restricting visitations including anyone under 12 to its four hospitals and requiring the use of hand sanitizer at entrances to protect vulnerable patients and caregivers from the flu.

Starting Wednesday, the following temporary changes in policy are in effect:

  • No visitors under the age of 17 will be allowed in St. Charles’ intensive care units or the neonatal intensive care unit in Bend.
    • In all other areas of the hospitals, no visitors under the age of 12 will be permitted.
    • All visitors and caregivers are required to use hand sanitizer provided at kiosks located near hospital entrances. Masks are also available and should be worn by those experiencing flu-like symptoms.

Between January 11-13 alone, St. Charles labs conducted 57 tests, with 22 returning positive for influenza.

These numbers indicate that flu season has officially arrived in Central Oregon, just as it has throughout the nation. So far, Oregon public health officials are reporting a moderate flu season for the state, but St. Charles leaders are planning ahead in case the number of patients with the flu rises dramatically or the caregiver population is hit with the illness.

The health system has launched an influenza incident command that is monitoring the number of flu cases, the amount of available vaccine and flu test kits.

Public health departments are underscoring the importance of receiving the flu vaccine, which this year is about a 90 percent match with the most common strains that are being diagnosed. The flu vaccine supply in Central Oregon is limited and regional staff is coordinating with pharmacies and health providers to ensure its availability.


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Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. •

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