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St. Joseph's restricts visitors due to H1N1 flu outbreak

St. Joseph's Area Health Services is restricting visitors because of the prevalence of H1N1 flu in the community, and to protect its hospitalized patients from exposure.

Hospital officials announced today that only immediate family members, who do not have flu-like symptoms, may visit patients.

Immediate family members include parents, spouses or significant others, in-laws, grandparents and children and grandchildren 18 or older. Children under the age of 18 will not be allowed to visit.

Clergy, who do not have flu-like symptoms, will be able to visit.

"We understand that restricting visitors can be difficult for patients and families," said St. Joseph's Area Health Services vice president of patient care Deb Haagenson. "But we're doing this to keep our hospitalized patients, many whom are quite ill, as safe as possible."