St. Luke's Miners Memorial Hospital, Coaldale, and Blue Mountain Health System have made an adjustment in their policies for visitors, due to an increase of flu cases in its service communities.

Andrea Visnosky, spokesperson for St. Luke's Miners, released these details on the adjusted policy on Tuesday.

"Due to the community-wide surge in influenza-like illness St. Luke's Miners Memorial Hospital has agreed to a uniform hospital visitation policy, being followed by hospitals/health systems in the Lehigh Valley, as follows until further notice: no visitors 18 years of age and under; no visitors with any symptoms of flu-like illness,'' said Visnosky.

"Following this same rationale, our junior volunteers who are less than 18 years of age (and who are free from any signs of infection) will be limited to volunteering in non-patient care areas. We will carefully monitor these positions as the influenza season continues and adjust accordingly.

"Our goal as the region's health care provider is to limit the spread of flu-like illness and keep the community healthy,'' added Visnosky.

Lisa Johnson, vice president of communications for Blue Mountain Health System, made a similar statement affecting the Gnaden Huetten and Palmerton campuses.

An addition to Blue Mountain's policy is that no more than two visitors per patient will be permitted.

"We are enforcing two individuals at a time at bedside," Johnson said.

She stressed that anyone with symptoms of a flu or cold refrain from visiting patients. This includes anyone with fever, cough, or runny nose.