About Amy Umble:
Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

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Hospitals to restrict visitation

Visitor signOfficials of Mary Washington Hospital and Stafford Hospital Center decided this afternoon to join with other hospitals in the state to restrict visitation because of swine flu.

Beginning Wednesday, the hospitals will adopt a color-coded scheme to signal the numbers and types of visitors permitted. Signs will be posted at the entrances to tell visitors if "green," "yellow" or "red" conditions exist.

Green means no restrictions on visitation, though visitors who are sick may be asked to wear a protective mask or go home. Yellow means no visitors under 18. Red means no more than two visitors at a time, restricted to immediate family.

The hospitals will be under level yellow, beginning Wednesday, said Kathleen Allenbaugh, spokewoman. The hosptials’ emergency departements have been busy with people with flu-like ilnesses. But most of these patients are treated and released and not admitted, said Eileen Dohmann, vice president for nursing.

“We haven’t had the trending that other hospitals have had, but we know it’s imminent so we’re being proactive," Allenbaugh said.

For more details about the change, see tomorrow’s paper.