Kirkland hospital begins screening patients for the flu

EvergreenHealth Medical Center in Kirkland began screening all visitors for the flu on Tuesday, Fen. 13, 2018. (Photo: KOMO News)

KIRKLAND, Wash. - EvergreenHealth Medical Center in Kirkland began screening all visitors for the flu on Tuesday.

The goal is to stop the spread of the flu to staff and patients, according to the hospital.

A team of nurses greeted visitors at the center's four main screening points.

Visitors will be checked for flu-like symptoms, like fever, cough, sore throat, and body aches, then asked a series of questions.

The hospital said the screening measures are necessary, given the length and intensity of this year's flu season - which has been widespread nationwide for five consecutive weeks.

“We have had a lot of staff that have been sick with the flu and we need our workforce here to help take care of the ill people, but we’ve also had a lot of patients with the flu so we want to cut that off and make sure others are not getting sick,” said Sandra Kreider, MSN, RN at EvergreenHealth.

“It’s a great policy, great concept,” said one man who was visiting his mother after her surgery.

A visitor who has flu-like symptoms, and is need of medical attention, will be asked to a wear a mask during their visit.

A visitor with flu-like symptoms but isn't seeking medical care will be asked to postpone their visit until they're feeling better.

The hospital also said no one under age 16 will be allowed to visit the main hospital, unless they're visiting certain areas.

According to hospital officials, the goal is not to keep people away from medical care, it's to prevent people who are sick from visiting critically ill patients who are hospitalized.

The last time the hospital had similar screening measures was in 2009 and that lasted for about 3 weeks.

The new screening measures will be in place at EvergreenHealth’s main hospital in Kirkland until doctors see a drop in the number of flu cases statewide.

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