Health & Family

Update: Charlotte hospitals end visitor restrictions because of the flu

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What actions—apart from getting vaccinated and taking medicine—can you take to help slow the spread of illnesses like the flu?
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What actions—apart from getting vaccinated and taking medicine—can you take to help slow the spread of illnesses like the flu?

UPDATED: The Charlotte area’s two largest hospital systems on Thursday said they will be lifting restrictions that were placed on patient visits this year because of flu outbreaks across the Carolinas and other states.

Atrium Health and Novant Health had restricted children 12 and under from all of their acute care facilities. In response to a declining number of flu cases recently, those restrictions were lifted at 7 a.m. Friday, the systems said.

But the systems still advised people exhibiting flu-like symptoms to not visit patients. Those symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, body aches, chills, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Cone Health, Wake Forest Baptist Health and Randolph Health joined Atrium and Novant in lifting the restrictions.

“The visitor restrictions were necessary to protect our most vulnerable hospitalized patients, but now, as we see the number of influenza cases continue to decline, we are happy to welcome back visitors of all ages into our facilities,” Dr. Eric Eskioglu, chief medical officer at Novant, said in a statement.

To reduce the odds of getting the flu, Atrium and Novant recommended frequent hand-washing with soap or the use of liquid hand sanitizers.

North Carolina has had 148 influenza-associated deaths this season, which began Sept. 30, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

That’s as of March 16, when the most recent data was available, according to the department. The geographic spread of flu was “widespread” as of that week, the department said.

The hospitals affected by Thursday’s announcement:

Atrium Health hospitals

  • Carolinas Medical Center

  • Levine Children’s Hospital

  • Levine Cancer Institute

  • Carolinas Medical Center-Mercy

  • Carolinas HealthCare System NorthEast

  • Atrium Health Pineville

  • Atrium Health Union

  • Atrium Health University City

  • Atrium Health Lincoln

  • Atrium Health Cleveland

  • Atrium Health Kings Mountain

  • Atrium Health Anson

  • Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge

  • Carolinas HealthCare System Stanly

  • Carolinas HealthCare System Behavioral Health-Charlotte

  • Carolinas HealthCare System Behavioral Health-Davidson

  • Carolinas Rehabilitation-Charlotte

  • Carolinas Rehabilitation-NorthEast

  • Carolinas Rehabilitation-Mt. Holly

  • Atrium Health Pineville Rehabilitation Hospital

Novant Health hospitals

  • Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center

  • Novant Health Charlotte Orthopedic Hospital

  • Novant Health Clemmons Medical Center

  • Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center

  • Novant Health Hemby Children’s Hospital

  • Novant Health Huntersville Medical Center

  • Novant Health Kernersville Medical Center

  • Novant Health Matthews Medical Center

  • Novant Health Medical Park Hospital

  • Novant Health Mint Hill Medical Center

  • Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center

  • Novant Health Rowan Medical Center

  • Novant Health Thomasville Medical Center

  • Novant Health UVA Health System Prince William Medical Center

  • Novant Health UVA Health System Haymarket Medical Center

  • Novant Health UVA Health System Culpeper Medical Center.


Deon Roberts has covered Charlotte’s financial services industry for The Charlotte Observer since 2013. His beat includes Bank of America and Wells Fargo. He attended Loyola University in New Orleans and is a native of Lafitte, La.
Joe Marusak has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1989 covering the people, municipalities and major news events of the region, and was a news bureau editor for the paper. He currently reports on breaking news.