SALINAS, CA, January 12, 2018 – Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System (SVMHS) is once again partnering with the Monterey County Health Department to offer free flu vaccines to families who haven’t been vaccinated this season. The flu clinic will take place Saturday between 11am-2pm at SVMHS. This is the 5th free flu clinic this season SVMHS has hosted with more than 1,300 people getting immunized.

According to the Monterey County Health Department, one person in Monterey County has died due to complications associated with the flu and at least 27 people have died from flu complications in California.

Influenza, also known as the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. Symptoms can include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, and fatigue. Complications from the flu can include pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections. In December, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new estimates that worldwide between 291,000 and 646,000 people die each year from seasonal influenza-related respiratory illnesses.

In addition to the flu vaccine, Tdap vaccine will also be made available to the public for free. Tdap helps protect adults and adolescents against three diseases – tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis commonly known as whooping cough. Registered nurses from SVMHS will be administrating the free vaccines on a first come, first serve basis and quantities are limited.

In an effort to prevent the spread of the flu virus and to limit the risk to patients, visitors and staff SVMHS was the first hospital in Monterey County to implement a temporary change to its visitor policy on December 29th. Since then, other hospitals have also changed their visitor policies.

Effective December 29, 2017, the Hospital visitor policy is as follows and is in effect until further notice:

  • Only visitors 14 and older are allowed in patient care areas.
  • Visiting hours are between 9am and 8pm. Visits in patient rooms should be limited to 15 minutes.
  • Visitors with obvious flu symptoms or recently exposed to the flu virus are not allowed in patient care areas.
  • In unique circumstances such as codes, medical emergency situations, comfort or family supporting direct care, exceptions to the temporary guidelines will be discussed in collaboration with the care team and the Administrative Supervisor. If exceptions are granted, masks will be required for all children and for adult visitors with obvious flu symptoms.

SVMHS appreciates the public’s cooperation in adhering to the temporary modifications to the visitor policy and urges everyone who has not been vaccinated to take advantage of Saturday’s free flu clinic.