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Area hospitals respond to a rise in respiratory illnesses

Memorial Health and HSHS said Tuesday the rise in respiratory illnesses COVID-19, RSV and influenza are a cause for concern.

Memorial hospitals will observe visitor restrictions. Only two visitors per patient will be allowed at one time and only those 18 or older showing no signs of illness can enter.

Masks are encouraged, but not required at this time.

HSHS is only making similar recommendations at this time, but are not imposing limits.

The restrictions apply to inpatient units at: Decatur Memorial Hospital, Jacksonville Memorial Hospital, Lincoln Memorial Hospital, Springfield Memorial Hospital and Taylorville Memorial Hospital. The restrictions will not apply to outpatient Memorial Care locations, including urgent or primary care and laboratory or imaging appointments.

HSHS operates hospitals in Illinois and Wisconsin including St. John's Hospital in Springfield, St. Mary's in Decatur, Good Shepherd in Shelbyville and St. Francis in Litchfield.

To help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses, health officials say people should cover their mouth, especially when coughing or sneezing; wash hands frequently; receive all recommended vaccinations; and wear a mask around others.

Most people who suffer from respiratory illness recover completely in one to two weeks, but some people develop serious and potentially life-threatening medical complications, according to the IDPH. For additional information about respiratory illnesses, including symptoms and prevention, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at cdc.gov.

Along with a rise in cases, there have also been more hospitalizations. Sangamon and most central Illinois counties are considered at Medium Community Level for COVID-19.

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