Hospitals limit visitation to curb spread of flu

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Roper Saint Francis Hospital has changed their position on imposing new visitor restrictions in the labor and delivery areas.In the wake of an intense influenza season, Media Relations Manager Colleen Cooney with Roper Healthcare confirmed on Wednesday that the hospital would restrict visitors to immediate family at Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital in West Ashley and Roper St. Francis Hospital in Mount Pleasant.On Thursday, spokesperson Kim Keeler said that was not the case.

"Roper St. Francis Hospitals are following the direction of SC DHEC with regard to any visitors restrictions related to influenza," Keeler said in an email to ABC News 4. "At this time, signs are in place throughout the hospitals asking visitors who are sick to stay home or leave. Visitors with symptoms who must stay are provided with a surgical mask."The virus has kept Lowcountry doctors busy.Doctors at Nason Medical Center have said that at least 10 percent of the patients they see are diagnosed with the flu, which is worse than it has been in preceding years. That equals about 400 cases a week.According to the Department of Health and Environmental Control, 1084 hospitalizations and 22 deaths{}have been reported across the state since Sept. 30. The majority of the deaths and hospitalizations were patients over the age of 65.Positive flu tests have been building in the Lowcountry as well. Charleston County reported 152 cases so far this flu season. Berkeley County reported 14 cases and Dorchester County reported 32 cases.

The report is for the week ending Jan. 5.