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Charlotte hospitals change visitor guidelines due to rising COVID-19, flu and RSV cases

With a recent uptick in flu, COVID and RSV cases across the country, including in Charlotte, several hospitals and health care centers in the area are temporarily restricting visitors and requiring face masks to try to slow the spread of respiratory illnesses.

Atrium Health announced temporary visitor restrictions for kids 12-years-old and younger in hospitals, behavioral health and inpatient rehabilitation locations until further notice, unless under certain circumstances.

“It is essential we protect our most vulnerable patients during respiratory virus season,” Dr. Katie Passaretti, vice president and enterprise chief epidemiologist for Atrium Health, said. “We have seen in the past how these viruses, such as COVID-19, flu and RSV can cause severe disease and even death. We recognize that visitor restrictions may be inconvenient for some, but they are temporary changes to ensure we are doing everything we can to protect our patients, as well as our teammates and our community.”

Visitors are also now required to wear masks when visiting patients in high-risk settings, such as acute care hospitals, rehabilitation hospitals and units, emergency departments and inpatient hospice.

[RELATED: Why does everyone seem sick right now? The 3 respiratory viruses hitting NC + how to stay safe]

It’s common for more viruses to spread during this time of year, including those that cause flu, COVID-19, and RSV. In North Carolina, flu and RSV cases are currently outpacing COVID-19 infections by more than 40 percent, The Charlotte Observer previously reported.

“We’re seeing more respiratory illnesses and pneumonia in the United States and around the world. But right now, we’re not seeing anything new or unfamiliar in terms of virus or sickness,” Mandy Cohen, CDC director, said.

According to Atrium Health, some hospitals and health systems may also have additional restrictions for visitors in certain areas too.

At this time, Novant Health does not have any restrictions in place for any of its hospitals or health care centers.

“While Novant Health does not have visitor restrictions in place at this time, we continue to monitor the spread of respiratory viruses in our facilities and communities,” a spokesperson told The Charlotte Observer. “Anyone experiencing respiratory virus symptoms is encouraged to help control the spread of the illness by not visiting patients in the hospital.”