CHICAGO (CBS) – The flu is widespread in Illinois, prompting one Chicago hospital to take extra precautions to keep patients and employees free of the virus.
At Rush University Medical Center, visitors are asked if they have flulike symptoms.
A negative answer gets you a sticker indicating you are flu-free and can enter the hospital to visit.
But anyone who admits to having flu-like symptoms or looks like they’re sick is asked to leave.
Rush is screening everyone who walks through its doors because in the last month the hospital has seen a significant increase in the number of patients with the flu. During the month of January, the hospital had anywhere from 11 to 22 patients during any given week.
“Once we start to see patients come into the hospital, that’s usually an indication that they’re more activity in the community,” Rush’s Mary Alice Lavin said. “We don’t want people coming in to visit if they’re sick. They’re potentially then going to infect our staff, our patients.”
Health officials say the activity at Rush is mirrored across the state, which is why they’re still advising people to get a flu vaccine.
Renee Melton stopped by the “minute clinic” at CVS Monday afternoon.
“My colleague is at home with a 103 temperature right now, suffering, as well as her partner. It just sounds awful. I don’t want to get the flu,” Melton said.
She is one of 900 people the clinic has vaccinated this year. That’s down from the 1,200 who rushed to get the flu shot last year after the fatalities associated with the H1N1 flu.
Health officials stress that flu shots take a couple of weeks to protect a recipient against any virus.