St. Cloud, Minn: To protect Veterans and families and to prevent the spreading of influenza related illnesses, the St. Cloud VA Medical Center is implementing visitor restrictions in the Community Living Center.
Visitors will be limited to immediate family members. Individuals who are ill or who may have been exposed to people with flu like symptoms are asked to reconsider their visit.
Additionally, young children should not visit Community Living Center residents until the outbreak of influenza related illnesses across the state subsides.
Families of residents with special situations should consult with their treatment teams to arrange visits.
“We understand these restrictions are inconvenient, but they are necessary to protect the health of our residents, families, visitors and staff,” said Denice Tracy, Infection Prevention Nurse.
In addition to enforcing these restrictions, the St. Cloud VA Health Care System reminds Veterans and families that everyone can help reduce the spread of influenza and other illnesses by taking a few simple steps, such as washing your hands often, covering your cough, and staying home if you are sick.
Getting vaccinated is an important measure to protect against the flu. The St. Cloud VA Medical Center and VA clinics in Alexandria, Brainerd, and Montevideo have flu vaccine available. Vaccinations are available to enrolled Veterans during scheduled appointments or from Primary Care Teams on a walk-in basis. Walk-ins may have a short wait.
Protection from the flu with the vaccine depends on the person’s immune response and the match of the flu vaccine to the circulating strains of flu viruses. It takes about two weeks for immunity to build up after receiving the flu vaccine, so the combination of vaccination, hand hygiene, covering coughs and sneezes, social distancing, and staying home when ill offer the most effective protection against the flu.
Information is available for Veterans on when to seek medical care for the flu and treating someone with the flu at home via the VA Midwest Health Care Network’s toll free Influenza Information and Education number at 1-888-686-0479, and on the St. Cloud VA’s website at www.stcloud.va.gov