Newsroom > DHHS News Release

February 10, 2011

Nancy Klimek, Activity Manager, Grand Island Veteran’s Home, (308) 385-6252

Marla Augustine, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-4047

GI Vets Home Taking Precautions Against the Flu

Lincoln—Because cases of flu are increasing statewide, precautionary measures are being implemented at the Grand Island Veterans’ Home, according to Alex Willford, Administrator of the Home.

“We’re taking a comprehensive approach to limit the spread of the flu, both among members of the Home and among visitors,” Willford said. “There is no quarantine. Visitors can come to the facility if they are not ill. If they have symptoms of flu-like illness, they are encouraged to visit when they recover, or if they have a need to visit, a mask will be provided.”

Signs have been posted on the doors advising guests of the situation.

“We know the elderly are at greater risk for serious flu complications so it’s important to take measures to protect them from the virus,” according to Dr. Joann Schaefer, the state’s Chief Medical Officer and Director of the Division of Public Health, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

The precautions being implemented follow the guidelines from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Staff are following the guidelines by washing hands, and wearing gowns, gloves and masks when appropriate. Staff members who are ill are not allowed back to work for five days. Staff are not allowed to float from unit to unit so that the virus is not spread between units.

Group activities have been minimized, so there is less risk of spreading.

For 2010, 92 percent of staff and 91 percent of members received flu vaccine.

“I think the high rate of vaccination among staff and members will contribute to the prevention of influenza in the facility,” Willford said.

The public will be notified when things return to normal, Willford said.