As the 2013 flu season continues, two Lorain County hospitals are restricting their visitation policies.
The new guidelines affect Mercy Regional Medical Center on Kolbe Road in Lorain and Mercy Allen Hospital in Oberlin.
According to a statement released by Mercy Regional Medical Center on Friday, visitors younger than 14 are discouraged from visiting.
Visitors are also being discouraged from spending the night in the hospital.
“If visitors must stay overnight, they are encouraged to stay one at a time,” the statement read.
Additionally, anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms, including chills, coughing, sore throat and muscle aches, will be asked not to visit.
However, once the symptoms have subsided, the guest may visit.
The new guidelines are being implemented immediately.
“Policy changes will remain in effect until the influenza subsides,” the statement read.
Ohio and 30 other states have been experiencing widespread influenza, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In December, Mercy Allen Hospital had 250 cases of flu, pneumonia and other respiratory infections.
Data released Friday by the Ohio Department of Health indicates that there have been 1,922 flu-associated hospitalizations reported so far this flu season.
That total compares with 175 cases in the 2010-11 season and 86 in the 2011-12 season.
One child has died this year from complications of the flu, the Ohio Department of Health said. Last season, no child deaths were reported.
“Flu season got an early start in Ohio, but it’s not too late to get your flu vaccination,” said Dr. Ted Wymyslo, director of the Ohio Department of Health.