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Fargo's MeritCare restricts vistors because of flu

FARGO - Two MeritCare Hospital locations in Fargo are restricting visitors due to the prevalence of H1N1 flu in the community and to protect patients from exposure, the hospital announced this morning.

In a news release, MeritCare said only immediate family members who do not have flu-like symptoms may visit hospitalized patients. Immediate family members include parents, spouse or significant other, in-laws, grandparents and children over the age of 18 who are patients' children, siblings and grandchildren.

The hospital said children under the age of 18 are not be allowed to visit.

In addition, clergy who do not have flu-like symptoms are also able to visit.

In another restriction, MeritCare said patients coming to its downtown Fargo emergency center can only bring one person with them.

"We understand that restricting visitors can be difficult for patients and families, but we're doing this to keep our hospitalized patients, many whom are quite ill, as safe as possible," Joan Cook, infection control manager for the hospital, said in the news release.