Flu outbreak triggers isolation at Ardmore Veterans Center - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

Flu outbreak triggers isolation at Ardmore Veterans Center

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The Ardmore Veterans Center. (KTEN) The Ardmore Veterans Center. (KTEN)

ARDMORE, Okla. -- The influenza deaths of three more Oklahomans have been added to the state's toll, which now stands at 13 since the flu season began in September.

Oklahoma and Texas are among the 23 states where health officials say flu activity is "widespread."

Newborn babies and the elderly face an elevated risk from the illness. The Ardmore Veterans Center is taking extra precautions.

"We do have what we call 'quarantine,' but we don't want to scare anybody by using that big word; we just want to keep people as safe as possible," said unit nurse manager Daniel Oyler.

Veterans Center administrator Shawn Kirkland said they're trying to be proactive to limit the spread of the virus.

"We have had five cases so far, so we wanted to stop it as soon as we could," Kirkland said. "We had a battle with it last year where it hit a lot of residents and a lot of staff members, so we are just taking our precautions, doing our due diligence, to prevent an outbreak."

Staff members report any flu cases to the Centers for Disease Control, which sets guidelines for health care facilities.

"The first thing is, determine if we have an outbreak or not. And what they consider an outbreak is two or more on the same unit," Oyler said. "We met that criteria, so we went into those precautions."

Two of the seven units in the 175-bed facility are now in isolation.

"We are able to feed them on the unit, we are able to still do all of the things that we normally do with keeping them on the unit and not having to let them off the unit," Oyler said. "They don't have to stay on the unit, we just highly encourage it for those that are not sick."

Staffers also say they are in no way discouraging visitors, but they urge them to take precautions as well by regular hand-washing, and wearing a mask if needed.

"We understand that people want to see their loved ones, but we hope that they will understand this as well," Kirkland said. 

He added that the Ardmore Veterans Center has not had a positive flu test result in a couple of days, so they're hoping the isolation will be lifted some time in the next week.

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