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Flu Outbreak At Nursing Home

An Oakland County nursing home is barring visitors from entering and residents from leaving because of a flu outbreak. 

A statement from Boulevard Health Center in Rochester Hills says it acted "as soon as it was known that residents had flu symptoms."

"When you have a lot of visitors, like we have at Boulevard, you run the risk that someone will bring the flu virus in and infect a resident," Boulevard Health Center administrator, Christine Petrik said in a statement.  "It is similar to someone in your home getting the flu; you immediately disinfect common areas, and separate the family member to prevent the flu from spreading.  This is exactly what we have done."  

It was unclear how many residents were ill.  The facility has not been quarantined.

Oakland County Health Department spokesman Bill Mullan says the agency learned about the outbreak Friday after the nursing home reported it.

Mullan says the health department expects to get more information soon on what caused the outbreak and how many people are affected.

WWJ's Florence Walton spoke with who Jim Hickner found out at the front door that he wouldn't be allowed in  to see his 95-year-old mother.

"I visit mother for the holidays.  I live in Richmond -- it's quite a ways, but it's worth it.  There's a sign on the door that there's a virus and there's no visitors," Hickner said.

As part of their Infection Control protocol, which has been approved by the county health department, Boulevard institutes the following preventative measures every fall:

1. Re-trains the staff on infection control procedures.

2. Offers flu vaccines to residents and staff.

3. Instructs staff and visitors to frequently wash hands with soap and warm water.

4. Places hand sanitizers in convenient areas to encourage usage by visitors.

5. Places signage at the building entrance to discourage visitors from visiting when they are sick or have flu-like symptoms.

Oakland County health officials have inspected the center and, as of Monday, approved of the infection control measures underway.

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