New rule for hospital visitors in wake of flu outbreak - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

New rule for hospital visitors in wake of flu outbreak

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Doctor's offices and DC area pharmacies continue to report flu vaccine shortages.

And now, local hospitals are taking steps to protect patients and staff.

Visitors must be at least 18 years old at all Inova Hospitals Systemwide. No visitors with flu-like symptoms will be allowed on the floors. Some visitors may be issued masks or other protective clothing.

Hospital administrators say the rules are temporary and will depend on the spread of the flu locally.

Right now, the Centers for Disease Control says the outbreaks in Maryland and Virginia are widespread. There are increasing numbers of flu cases cropping up in DC too.

Rodman's Food and Drug on Wisconsin Avenue, NW had planned an eight hour flu shot clinic for Saturday. They had 80 doses available. 120 people showed up. General Manager Charles Miller says they are working on a plan to accommodate those turned away.

"We've ordered more doses," Miller says. "Come in and sign up and we will schedule a day next week, so everyone can come get their shots."

Even though the vaccine is getting harder to find, health officials urge people to keep trying. The recommendation, with very few exceptions, is that everyone over the age of six months get a flu shot annually.

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