New visiting rules in place at University Hospitals Parma and Elyria to slow spread of flu

PARMA - In order to fight the flu, some hospitals are banning who can visit, in light of a vaccine health experts call only 10 percent effective against certain flu strains.

"We are having an increased outbreak of patients and symptoms here in the hospital," said Dr. Kimberly Trickett the Associate Chief Medical Officer at University Hospitals Parma.

New rules are now in place at University Hospitals Parma and Elyria Medical Center to slow the spread of flu cases. Until further notice, visitors under 18, in addition to visitors displaying flu related symptoms, are not allowed to see patients.

"If you have had the vaccine you are still at risk of being exposed and contracting the flu, so it's really trying to avoid exposure as best you can," said Trickett.

According to the CDC, this flu season is more aggressive than recent years, even more so than 2015-15 flu season, considered the most severe in recent years.

On a local level, the Cuyahoga County Board of Health says more than 1,100 people have been to the hospital in recent weeks with flu symptoms. In addition, nearly 250 hospitalizations were reported.

Despite the increase in flu cases some think the visitor restrictions are a step too far.

"In the meantime you still have people that you want to visit too," said Ralph Parte. "You know so where do you draw the line?"

Through March, Akron Children's Hospital is restricting visitors under the age of 12 years old. Officials ask anyone planning to visit patients but are displaying flu symptoms themselves to stay home.