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Hampton Roads hospitals announce mask recommendation during widespread flu level

Area hospitals and healthcare systems strongly recommend all patients and visitors wear a mask inside hospitals, medical facilities and physician practices.

NORFOLK, Va. — The CDC has reported that flu levels in Hampton Roads have reached widespread levels for the second consecutive week. So, area hospitals and healthcare systems strongly recommend all patients and visitors wear a mask inside hospitals, medical facilities and physician practices to protect the community from the spread of flu. 

RELATED: Flu levels considered widespread in Virginia

Masks and hand sanitizer are available at very facility entrance for the public to use.

All patients and visitors, even those who already received a flu shot, are strongly encouraged to wear masks inside healthcare facilities. The flu vaccine is the best prevention available but is not 100 percent effective. Masking provides an added layer of protection from the potentially deadly disease.

Participating medical entities include

  • Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center
  • Bon Secours Mary Immaculate Hospital
  • Bon Secours Maryview Medical Center
  • Bon Secours Health Center at Harbour View
  • Chesapeake Regional Healthcare
  • Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters
  • Naval Medical Center Portsmouth
  • Riverside Doctors’ Hospital
  • Riverside Regional Medical Center
  • Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital
  • Riverside Tappahannock Hospital
  • Riverside Walter Reed Hospital
  • Sentara Albemarle Medical Center
  • Sentara CarePlex Hospital and Orthopedic Hospital at Sentara CarePlex
  • Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital
  • Sentara Leigh Hospital
  • Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital
  • Sentara Martha Jefferson Emergency Department at Proffit Road
  • Sentara Norfolk General Hospital and Sentara Heart Hospital
  • Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center
  • Sentara Obici Hospital
  • Sentara Princess Anne Hospital
  • Sentara RMH Medical Center
  • Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital
  • Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center
  • Sentara Freestanding Emergency Departments at BelleHarbour, Port Warwick, Independence and Lake Ridge

RELATED: Flu shot is less effective on people who are overweight, researchers say

This community-wide recommendation helps protect patients, visitors, and staff from exposure to flu, even before symptoms are noticeable.

Individuals experiencing flu-like symptoms are asked to stay home and refrain from visiting patients at area hospitals. Symptoms of flu include fever and respiratory illness symptoms such as cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, chills, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea. 

The recommendation to wear a mask when entering healthcare facilities will remain in effect during the flu season for as long as the disease is at widespread levels.

Additional measures to limit the spread of disease, especially flu, include washing hands frequently, staying home when sick, getting vaccinated and coughing into sleeves or tissues.