Published on January 23, 2018

As Flu Cases Climb, Firelands Regional Medical Center Tightens Visitor Restrictions

(January 23, 2018 – Sandusky, Ohio) As influenza hospitalizations and county-wide flu cases increase, Firelands Regional Medical Center is now restricting visitors to healthy members of the patient’s immediate family or immediate support person who are 18 years and older. The visitor restrictions will go into effect immediately. Firelands is also asking that caution be used with the number of individuals visiting to reduce any additional exposure to influenza viruses.

Please DO NOT visit any patient if you do not feel well or if you show symptoms of:

  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Sore throat

Please note that special needs may be accommodated.

In addition to the above visitor restrictions, Firelands is requiring all employees who have not received a flu vaccination to wear a protective mask while working.

“The flu virus is extremely contagious,” said Michael Blank, MD, who specializes in infectious disease at Firelands. “It can be easily spread through droplets when people cough, sneeze, or talk, and it is even possible to infect others before you know you are sick.”

One study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) found that “it may be possible to spread the flu just by breathing—no coughing or sneezing required.”

The ease of which the flu spreads, in addition to the severity of the flu strain affecting Erie County residents, are reasons for which Firelands is taking extra steps to protect patients, guests, and staff.

Firelands is also encouraging anyone who hasn’t been vaccinated to get the flu shot.

“Although the flu vaccine can vary as to how well it works, people who do get sick are reporting milder symptoms if they have been vaccinated,” said Patty Martin, vice president of quality and patient satisfaction at Firelands.

As seasonal influenza continues to unfold in the community, Firelands Regional Medical Center will continue to work with the Erie County Health Department to monitor the situation. If you are planning to see a patient in the hospital, please go to for the most current information about visitor limitations.

Thank you for helping us to prevent the spread of disease.

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