- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 15, 2014

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - UK HealthCare says it has amended its visitation policy for patients due to concerns about the growing number of flu cases reported in the state.

“In response to the increasing number of flu cases in Kentucky, we will be instituting specific visitation measures,” said Dr. Derek Forster, medical director for Infection Prevention and Control at UK HealthCare. “These temporary measures are designed to help protect patients, visitors and staff from exposure to the flu and are in effect at all UK HealthCare inpatient units including University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, Kentucky Children’s Hospital and UK Good Samaritan Hospital.”

The statement says the new restrictions include no visitors under the age of 18, no visitors with any flu-type illnesses and only two visitors per patient at one time. Officials say visitors who are allowed in also might be required to wear protective clothing or masks.

The measures are temporary and exceptions could be made on a case-by-case basis.

UK HealthCare appreciates everyone’s cooperation as, together, we work to assure the health and safety of our community during this challenging flu season,” Forster said.

Kim Blanton, enterprise director for Infection Prevention and Control at UK HealthCare, urged those who haven’t yet gotten flu shots to do so.

“A flu vaccine is the first and best way to prevent influenza,” she said.