Central WA hospitals change visitor policies in light of H1N1 - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Central WA hospitals change visitor policies in light of H1N1

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Central Washington hospitals announced this week that they are placing new restrictions on visitations in response to the H1N1 virus.

Some of the changes include the number of visitors per patient as well as the age of those visitors.  The policies vary from hospital to hospital in Yakima and Kittitas counties. 

Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital has started restricting patients in certain units to two visitors at a time, they must be 14 years of age or older.  Starting on Nov. 2, the policy will expand to the entire hospital.

Nicole Donegan is with the communications department at Memorial.  She told KNDO by email that the hospital is still figuring out the specifics of how it will operate this new policy.

Yakima Regional Cardiac and Medical Center has yet to make any changes, it said in a statement released to the media.

"Our visitation policy is currently under review," said Debra Yergen, a spokeswoman for the hospital.  "We will be issuing changes early next week for the flu season."

Kittitas Valley Community Hospital started its new policy Friday morning, a staff member told KNDO by phone.  It is requiring visitors to be 18 years of age or older and limiting visitors to two per patient.