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Catholic Health lifts temporary visitor restrictions

BUFFALO - With a marked decrease in the number of patients being seen with flu and respiratory-related illnesses, Catholic Health is lifting the temporary visitor restrictions it enacted last month, which limited children under the age of 14 from visiting in its hospitals and long term care facilities.

Effective immediately, Catholic Health will resume its regular visitor policy, which allows children under the age of 14 to visit in its nursing homes, hospital maternity units for sibling visitation and all other hospital units with permission from the nurse manager. This policy covers all Catholic Health hospitals and long term care facilities including Mercy Hospital of Buffalo, Kenmore Mercy Hospital, Sisters of Charity Hospital and its St. Joseph Campus, Father Baker Manor, McAuley Residence, Mercy Skilled Nursing Facility at OLV, St. Catherine Laboure Health Care Center and St. Francis of Williamsville.

“Visitors can brighten the spirits of our patients, but people should never visit a hospital or long term care facility if they are not feeling well, have a fever or are experiencing respiratory-related illnesses,” said Kevin Shiley, MD, physician adviser, Catholic Health Infection Prevention and Control. “Children are especially susceptible to illness as well as spreading infection, so extra precautions should be taken among young visitors.”

Anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms, including fever, fatigue, body aches, sore throat or respiratory issues should refrain from visiting hospital patients or nursing home residents. “While the flu seems to be tapering off, everyone should always follow proper respiratory etiquette,” Dr. Shiley explained. “This includes covering the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, properly disposing of tissues and washing hands frequently.”

Catholic Health has installed more hand sanitizer dispensing units throughout its facilities. Tissues and masks are also available in high-traffic areas such as the Emergency Department for patients presenting with flu-like illnesses.

Area residents are encouraged to get a flu shot if they have not already done so and to contact their primary care doctor or clinic rather than seek treatment for routine flu symptoms in the emergency room. More information on visiting hours may be found on the Catholic Health website at


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