Visitor restrictions take effect Wednesday in some Valley hospitals

Posted: Updated:
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- Some Valley hospitals are putting visitor restrictions in place to try to prevent the spread of Enterovirus D68.

Starting Wednesday, Banner Health will implement visitor restrictions at all of its facilities because of the current Enterovirus D68 outbreak. While there have been no documented cases of the illness at any Banner hospitals, the nonprofit health system has chosen to take a proactive response to the virus.

Restrictions will likely remain in place through the flu season, roughly the end of March.

The restrictions include:
-Do not visit the hospital if you have fever, cough, vomiting or diarrhea
-No visitors under the age of 13
-Siblings, who do not have cold and flu symptoms, may visit a new baby on the Obstetrics unit, but may be screened for illness by staff before being allowed to visit
-Children 12 and under must be supervised by an adult at all times in public waiting areas and cafeteria
-Please wash or sanitize your hands frequently while at the hospital

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, symptoms of Enterovirus D68 may include a include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, body and muscle aches. As of September 22, the CDC reports a total of 175 people had been infected across 27 states.

Additionally, the CDC website states that infants, children and teenagers have a higher risk of being infected with Enterovirus D68 likely because they have not built up immunity from previous exposures to these viruses. Children with asthma are at higher risk for severe illness.

To avoid becoming sick, the CDC recommends washing hands with soap and water frequently; avoiding contact with eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands; and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.