Two hospitals turning away child visitors due to respiratory virus
QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -
Two Tri-State hospitals have new restrictions in place, prompted by a respiratory virus making children ill.
At Quincy's Blessing Hospital, no children under 12 are allowed to visit. Visitors under 16 are banned at Hannibal Regional Hospital.
Doctors and nurses at Blessing Hospital's emergency department are fighting a virus that brought 70 kids to the hospital over the Labor Day holiday weekend. Doctor Robert Merrick says the virus causes symptoms similar to the common cold, only worse and parents need to keep a close watch on their kids.
"Is there a high fever? Is the child having difficulty breathing? These are very unusual," Merrick said.
Merrick thinks the virus is HEV-68 or enterovirus, a respiratory virus also showing up at other Tri-State hospitals, including Hannibal Regional. While the exact virus has yet to be confirmed, it has led both Blessing and Hannibal Regional to put restrictions on child visitors, who could be carrying the germs.
"Mostly we're concerned about them bringing it in to a vulnerable patient. We don't feel that the hospital is more dangerous to any other person at this time," Merrick said.
Meanwhile at Blessing's Lauretta M. Eno Learning Center, Director Joleen Patton says they haven't seen the symptoms yet, and precautions are in place to do all they can to keep it that way.
"Wash our hands every time we touch a nose, we also wipe surfaces consistently, before and after each use, including tables and chairs and diaper services," Patton said.
Patton says if the virus pops up, they'll let parents know and they hope parents will do their part, too.
"To watch for these symptoms, and your child will need to be dismissed for the day if these symptoms do occur," Patton said.
Again, doctors want parents to watch for these symptoms: high fever, trouble breathing, and a rattling cough. If your child has them for an extended time, you should go to the doctor.