Measles Total Now at 48; Allina Health Implements Guidelines

May 08, 2017 05:18 PM

The Minnesota Department of Health says the number of diagnosed cases of measles in the state's current outbreak has risen to 48.

The department posted the updated numbers on its website Monday afternoon.

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RELATED: 3 More Cases of Measles in Minnesota

That total includes 45 cases in Hennepin County, two in Ramsey County and one in Crow Wing County.

Forty-six of the 48 cases have come in children between the ages of 0-10. Two have been adults. Forty-five cases have come in individuals confirmed to have been unvaccinated. One had one dose of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccination. Two had two doses.

Forty-one of the cases have come in the Somali Minnesotan community.

It remains the worst outbreak in Minnesota since 1990 when 460 cases were diagnosed in the state, leading to three fatalities.

RELATED: Measles Total Rises to 41

The measles outbreak has led to the implementation of visitor guidelines at some area hospitals and clinics.

Allina Health announced the new guidelines for its hospitals and clinics in a release Monday. They are as follows:

  • Unless seeking medical care themselves, children under the age of 5 are asked not to visit the hospital. Exceptions may be considered based on the critical condition/prognosis of the patient those children would be visiting. Those exceptions will be determined by the physician and nursing supervisor on duty.
  • All children 10-and-under must wear a mask while in the hospital, or while visiting any Allina Health clinic. And anyone with a cough or a sore throat should also wear a mask while in the hospital.
  • These guidelines also apply to Mom Baby/Birth Center visitors.
  • All visitors are asked to cover their coughs, and to wash their hands or use the antibacterial hand cleanser provided throughout Allina facilities.

Allina Health hospitals include Abbot Northwestern in Minneapolis, the Buffalo Hospital, the Cambridge Medical Center, District One Hospital in Faribault, Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids, Mercy Hospital - Unity Campus in Fridley, the New Ulm Medical Center, Owatonna Hospital, the Phillips Eye Institute in Minneapolis, Regina Hospital in Hastings, River Falls Area Hospital in River Falls, Wisconsin, St. Francis Regional Medical Center in Shakopee and United Hospital in St. Paul.

Allina Health spokesperson Terri Dresen said the guidelines are very similar to the ones put in place to deal with the flu, with the exception of the new guideline requiring children 10-and-under to be masked.

"Instead of easing off the influenza restrictions as flu season ends, we've instead left them in place because of measles," Dresen said.

Dresen said the guidelines are meant to provide security and peace-of-mind to those seeking care and their families.

"The majority of patients entering a hospital for care are sick and vulnerable," she said, "and it's up to us as a hospital to provide the safest possible environment for them to get that care."

Allina said the visitor restrictions will remain in place until the MDH rules the measles outbreak has been contained.

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Frank Rajkowski

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