Because of the recent rise in flu-like illnesses, Charlotte-area hospitals announced late Wednesday they are adopting temporary restrictions on visitors, starting Friday morning.
Both Carolinas HealthCare System and Novant Health will prohibit children younger than 18 from visiting hospitals in the Charlotte region. On that same day, CaroMont Regional Medical Center in Gastonia also will ban visitors younger than 13 and anyone who is experiencing flu-like symptoms or has a weakened immune system.
Health authorities say reported cases of flu and flu-like illnesses in North Carolina are at their highest level in more than five years.
Adults who are experiencing flu-like symptoms, such as runny nose, sore throat and fever, are also encouraged not to visit Novant facilities. Children may be allowed access to visit under special circumstances, such as when a family member is dying. If extraordinary circumstances make a visit necessary, visitors may be asked to wear surgical masks.
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Novant operates 14 hospitals in four states, including four in Mecklenburg County. They are Charlotte Orthopedic Hospital, Huntersville Medical Center, Matthews Medical Center and Presbyterian Medical Center.
Carolinas HealthCare restrictions affect its hospitals in Charlotte, Concord, Davidson, Pineville, Monroe, Lincolnton, Shelby, Kings Mountain, Albemarle, Wadesboro and Mount Holly.