Senior care facility asks visitors to stay away due to flu

The flu continues to spread across the country. (WGME)

ROCKLAND (WGME) --- The flu continues to spread across the country.

Here in Maine, the devastating illness shows no signs of slowing down.

In the past week, five more Mainers have died.

Of the 21 new outbreaks, 19 of them are in long term care facilities.

Kay Sylvester is one of 60 Rockland seniors living in the Bartlett Woods Retirement Community. She's worried about getting the flu after one of her friends there was recently hospitalized for influenza.

"It's hard telling where she may have picked up the bug," Sylvester said.

Staff say even though everyone there got flu shots, two still got the flu.

To stop the spread of germs, residents who feel sick are being asked to stay in their apartments where staff can care for them, and employees feeling sick are asked to stay home.

The nearby Knox Center for Long Term Care is taking it a step further after one of their residents got the flu. They have signs posted requesting no visitors at this time.

Last week, 35 new cases of the flu were confirmed in Knox County, with half those patients ending up in the hospital.

Statewide, Maine CDC confirms more than 3,000 cases of influenza so far this winter. That includes 876 new cases last week, the highest weekly total we've seen so far, and 120 of those new patients had to be hospitalized.

Kay Sylvester believes an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

"I have had the flu shot and I've had the pneumonia shot," Sylvester said "I am very, very careful about hand washing and actually limiting being in crowds."

A common sense guide, she says, to avoiding the flu.

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