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Eastside hospital screening every visitor for flu symptoms

(File, Associated Press)

An Eastside hospital is taking an extreme precaution against the flu by screening every visitor before letting them go inside.

EvergreenHealth Medical Center in Kirkland started the screening Tuesday morning to help curb an epidemic that is shaping up to be one of the worst in a decade.

According to the latest Washington Department of Health flu assessment, 151 people have died from a lab-confirmed, flu-associated death.

Visitors arriving at Evergreen are directed to four main screening points where staff will check for flu symptoms including fever, cough, sore throat and body aches.

Anyone who is determined by nurses to have flu-like symptoms and is seeking treatment at the hospital will be asked to wear a mask. Those visitors who show signs of the flu but are not at the hospital to get medical care will be asked to postpone their visit until their symptoms have subsided.

Children under 16 years old are restricted from visiting the hospital whether they show signs of the flu or not, though some special exceptions apply. The hospital says that age group is among the most susceptible to the flu.

All other Kirkland campus buildings and other EvergreenHealth locations throughout the Eastside, including primary care, urgent care and specialty care locations, will not be screening and will allow regular access.

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