Illnesses force U.P. hospital system to limit visitors –

MARQUETTE, MI – High volumes of respiratory illness and influenza now mean that some people can’t visit their loved ones in Upper Peninsula hospitals.

UP Health System announced via Facebook on Thursday, Jan. 2, that visitor restrictions are in effect until further notice at its Marquette, Portage and Bell campuses. The visitor limitations are part of efforts to protect patients from the flu, common cold and other airborne illnesses.

The follow restrictions are in effect:

  • No one who is ill with a cough, fever, runny nose, sore throat, vomiting and/or diarrhea can visit patients at the hospitals.
  • Visitors to the Family Birthing Center are limited to parents, grandparents and labor coaches.
  • In the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, visitors are limited to parents.

The flu season started early this year, in early December, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had seen a significant portion of doctor’s office visits due to flu-like illnesses for three consecutive weeks. The agency estimates that so far this season, there have been at least 4.6 million flu illnesses, 39,000 hospitalizations and 2,100 deaths from flu.

The 2018-19 flu season started mildly but became the longest in a decade. It ended with around 49,000 flu-related deaths and 590,000 hospitalizations, according to preliminary estimates. The year before was even worse with an estimated 61,000 deaths and 810,000 hospitalizations.


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