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HealthEast hospitals to restrict visitors during flu season

To help prevent the spread of flu viruses to patients, visitors and health care workers during this year's flu season, HealthEast Care System will be implementing visitor restrictions, hospital officials announced late last month.

These temporary rules apply to visitors at Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul, St. John's Hospital in Maplewood, St. Joseph's Hospital in downtown St. Paul and Woodwinds Health Campus in Woodbury.

Officials at Woodwinds and other HealthEast locations are asking people not to visit patients if they're sick or have flu-like symptoms. Flu-like symptoms include: fever greater than 100.4 degrees, cough, cold, runny nose, sore throat, diarrhea or vomiting.

The visitor restrictions during the flu season at HealthEast hospitals include:

• No visitors under age 5.

• Visiting hours from 8 a.m. to 8 pm.

• Visitors must go to information desks for a wellness screening and a visitors badge.

• No more than three visitors at a time.

"These visitor restrictions are intended to help prevent the spread of the flu and other illnesses within the hospital. The health and safety of our patients and our staff is our priority," said Dr. Steve Kolar, MD, chief medical officer for HealthEast. "There may be some compassionate exceptions to the visitation restrictions.We will work with our visitors and consider exceptions on a case-by-case basis."

The restrictions will remain in effect throughout the flu season. For more information about the HealthEast visitor restrictions visit: