SMC Urges Visitors to Stay Home if Sick

Watertown, New York ----- With a significant increase in Influenza (flu) and Norovirus (stomach flu) in our community, Samaritan Medical Center and all of its facilities are urging visitors and loved ones to stay home if they have any signs of sickness.

“We understand that visiting loved ones is important to both the visitor and the patient or resident, and we encourage it under normal circumstances” explains Karen Abare, RN, BSN, CIC, Director of Infection Prevention at Samaritan Medical Center. “However, keeping our patients and residents from acquiring further illness from the flu or stomach bug is our priority. These are highly contagious illnesses and can be life threatening. We are urging anyone who has any signs of illness, especially if they have tested positive for the flu, to stay at home until they are well. This protects our patients, residents and staff from potential exposure and illness.”

Samaritan has seen an increase in the number of people visiting its facilities with signs of illness, which has prompted this plea to avoid visiting. Many residents and patients already have compromised immune systems that cannot fight off viruses. The flu is extremely contagious, even to those who are healthy.

The hospital has posted signs at entrances to remind visitors of this urgent request and thanks the community in advance for its cooperation and vigilance.

“This is the perfect time to remind the community that the number one way to prevent the spread of illness is by frequent handwashing,” concludes Mrs. Abare. “Next to that, staying home and avoiding public places will minimize the spread of illness to others and throughout the community.”