HONESDALE - Wayne Memorial Hospital has issued a flu alert, asking any visitors who feel the slightest bit sick to stay home. Meanwhile doctors, nurses and staff here in Honesdale are working hard to stay healthy themselves.
"We are seeing patients a lot sicker this year compared to previous winters, they`re coming in sicker, the length of stay is longer," said Wayne Memorial Hospital Nurse Manager Barbara Gregory.
Doctor Louis O'Boyle says this hospital has already seen eight times the number of flu cases this year compared to all of last year's flu season.
He says simple hygiene, like washing your hands will help fight this virus, but staying away from hospitals when you're not feeling well is even more important than ever.
"If you have people that are sick, it`s nice to come see them but if you have cold symptoms yourself you really want to stay home. You want to stay away from people that are sick. It`s so easy to give it to everybody else," said Wayne County Memorial Hospitalist Program Medical Director Dr. Louis O'Boyle.
The hospital is also limiting access to the maternity ward and the pediatric unit. No one under the age of 18 is allowed to visit.
For visitors who are well enough to stop by the Wayne Memorial, there are stations like these to prevent them from picking up any illness fully equipped with tissues, masks and hand sanitizer.
"People do need to pay attention, and it`s all over the region right now, I will say I have seen people that have come in and grabbed a mask," said Dr. O'Boyle.
Some visitors say they've had vaccines and they're confident they won't pick up any bugs here.
"I haven`t got it yet, so I feel fine about that, I`m glad I got it," said David Price of Honesdale.
But it's best to not take any chances whenever possible.
"If you have a cough, cold symptoms, diarrhea, please stay home. We will gladly talk to you on the phone we will gladly put the phone calls into your loved one," said Gregory.
Wayne Memorial Hospital still has 250 doses of the Flu Vaccine. The Department of Home Health/Hospice Services and the Wayne County Area Agency on Aging will sponsor a flu clinic on January 16th from 2 - 4pm at the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce Building.
A 'number system' will be used and vaccine will be administered on a first come first serve basis until all available doses are administered. Flu shots will be limited to adults over the age of 18 only at this clinic. For specific questions, contact the Wayne County Area Agency on Aging at 570-253-4262.