Avera Brady closes doors to combat flu
Avera Brady Health and Rehab in Mitchell closed its doors to visitors Thursday to contain the spread of influenza. "We have several residents with flu symptoms and are taking immediate precautionary actions," Administrator Veronnica Smith said in...
Avera Brady Health and Rehab in Mitchell closed its doors to visitors Thursday to contain the spread of influenza.
"We have several residents with flu symptoms and are taking immediate precautionary actions," Administrator Veronnica Smith said in a news release. "The threat of an influenza epidemic is very real in nursing homes and other congregate living situations, so extraordinary measures are required to be implemented immediately."
Notices are posted on the doors stating that no visitors are permitted. The news release said Avera will provide notification when the ban on visitors is lifted.
"Thanks, in advance, for your cooperation in helping us safeguard the people in our care at Avera Brady," Smith said.
Another Mitchell nursing home facility, Firesteel Healthcare Center, remained open to visitors Thursday but was asking those with any symptoms of illness to postpone their visit.
The state Department of Health posted its weekly influenza summary Thursday at about the same time Avera Brady issued its visitor ban.
The new statewide report says there were three hospitalizations for influenza during the week ending Jan. 3, bringing the season's total to 11. The state's first two influenza deaths of the season also occurred during that week. Both victims were elderly.
Of 1,951 rapid antigen tests conducted this season at 331 sites across the state, 54 have tested positive for influenza. That's a rate of 3 percent for the season, which was the same rate reported for the week ending Jan. 3.
"It's still very slow in South Dakota, actually -- slow and sporadic," Lon Kightlinger, the state epidemiologist, told The Daily Republic.
The Avera Brady closure was the first nursing home visitor-ban that Kightlinger had heard of this season, though he said such decisions are made locally and could happen without his knowledge. He said a visitor ban is a good way to protect nursing-home residents, who are more susceptible to influenza.
Kightlinger said people who have not had a flu shot should still get one.
"There's still time to get a shot," he said. "Just because it's slow now doesn't mean it's not going to take off."
A Davison County resident died recently due to influenza, according to the Department of Health.