Hospitals Ratchet Up Their Visitor Restrictions

Oct 14, 2020

Hospitals across northern Illinois announced new visitor restrictions this week, further limiting the number of people allowed into health care facilities. The new measures apply to Mercyhealth, OSF HealthCare, FHN and Swedish American.

Ann Gantzer is vice president of patient services and the chief nurse officer for Swedes. She said the restrictions reflect the need to protect everyone who comes in contact with a sick person, including nurses. 

Connie Kuntz

If you are looking for a way to help in the response to the coronavirus outbreak, the Freeport Health Network (FHN) has a request -- sew surgical masks. 

The approved sewing pattern is called the Deaconess. Mark Gridley is the CEO of FHN. He said it's a simple pattern that has three tucks for additional protection. The Deaconess pattern name is also a nod to the history of FHN which, in 1924, was known as the Evangelical Deaconess Hospital.


Some hospitals in Illinois are restricting visitors because of a spike in flu cases.

FHN Memorial Hospital in Freeport reported 91 positive cases of flu this week, compared with three during the same time last year.  Based on recommendations from the Illinois Department of Public Health, it, like hospitals in similar situations, is limiting who can visit patients.  Nurse Margie Kochsmeir is the infection preventionist at FHN Memorial. She said measures also include removing potential gathering places for germs, such as magazines in the waiting room.

: http://www.healthcarereportcard.illinois.gov/maps

Visits to the emergency room for asthma vary widely across Illinois. One reason could be how it's treated.

Asthma is an inflammatory lung condition that can cause bouts of coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. In severe cases, a patient's airways swell shut, requiring a visit to the emergency room.

The Illinois Hospital Report Card tracks these types of visits. Between 2015-2017, Stephenson County had among the highest rates of visits in the state.