With influenza reaching widespread levels across Minnesota, Allina Health is immediately implementing visitor guidelines to protect patients and staff at their facilities in Faribault, Owatonna, and elsewhere. Guidelines went into effect Friday, December 20 without an end date indicated in a news release.

Visitors who are sick should not visit patients in the hospital, although compassionate exceptions can be made. Check with a nurse for a specific situation. Children under five should not visit patients and may need a wellness screening to visit the Birth Center. People with a cough or sore throat that need to visit a hospital should wear a mask while in the building.

They also ask visitors to always cover their mouth when coughing and wash your hands with hand rub provided in the facilities.

The news release indicates, "Allina Health implements visitor guidelines when the Minnesota Department of Health determines that influenza is widespread across the state."

Hospitals included in these guidelines are Owatonna Hospital, District One Hospital-Faribault, Abbott Northwestern-Minneapolis, Buffalo Hospital, Cambridge Medical Center, Mercy Hospital-Coon Rapids, Mercy Hospital-Unity Campus-Fridley, New Ulm Medical Center, Phillips Eye Institute-Minneapolis, Regina Hospital-Hastings, River Falls Area Hospital-River Falls, WI, St. Francis Regional Medical Center-Shakopee, and United Hospital-St. Paul.

Allina Health also announces their holiday hours and other care information for the coming week.