With flu widespread, Allina restricts hospital visits

Allina Health is placing restrictions on visitors to its hospitals, after state health officials declared influenza widespread in Minnesota.

Beginning Wednesday, children under age 5 and sick people will not be allowed to visit hospitalized patients.

Infectious disease specialist Frank Rhame said Allina will give nurses the authority to allow some sick visitors to see patients for "compassionate" reasons.

"We do make exceptions," he said. "If your mother is dying and you've got influenza, you really want to go say hello to her and hold her hand during that process, you know."

Rhame said the new visitor policy will remain in effect at its 13 hospitals until flu cases in the state drop to low levels.

The temporary visitor policy has become a routine precaution during peak flu season, Rhame said.

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