Get masked up for flu fight
If you haven’t had a flu jab, prepare to don a mask if you spend time at Waikato or Tokoroa Hospital.
That applies to both visitors and staff.
The Waikato DHB declared the start of the influenza season last Wednesday after a spike in the number of flu-like cases in the region.
The declaration triggered the health board’s mandatory mask policy for staff and hospital visitors who haven’t had their flu shot.
The mask policy wasn’t enforced last year because a flu season was never declared.
Waikato DHB chief executive Nigel Murray said the number of positive influenza swabs had passed the required threshold to allow the board’s medical officer of health to declare a flu season.
Masks will be available at the entrances to Waikato Hospital wards and at hospitals in Thames, Tokoroa, Te Kuiti and Taumarunui.
‘‘It means that if you’re coming into the wards, and you haven’t been vaccinated, a visitor mask will be available,’’ Murray said.
‘‘It’s an honour system but I know most people coming to see their loved ones who are sick or ill ... are going to take the appropriate action.’’
Each year, about 400 deaths in New Zealand are related to influenza infection.
Waikato DHB chief executive Nigel Murray says people visiting the health boards’ hospitals will be asked to wear a mask if they haven’t had a flu jab.