Flu 'widespread' in Minnesota, hospitals add restrictions

With the flu now considered "widespread" across Minnesota, according to the state health department, hospitals are implementing visitor restrictions.

“Right now, this is a pretty typical peak that we are seeing for flu season," said Dr. Bjorn Peterson, Emergency Physician with Health Partners at Regions Hospital. "The last few years have been a little bit later, after New Year’s into January, February. Previous years we’ve seen it as early as October. But this is right in the middle of when we would typically see the peak." 

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, 172 people were hospitalized with influenza between December 16 and 23. That's the most for that week since 2014. A total of 585 people have been hospitalized for the flu so far this season. Most cases have involved those 65 years and older living across the Twin Cities metro.

“It’s peaking right now during kind of a holiday break for most people, so that does mean that schools aren’t in session typically, so we don’t have so we don’t have kids that are spreading it student to student, who then bring it home to their families,” Dr. Peterson said. 

In response to the flu spike, Allina Health will implement system-wide visitor restrictions, effective Tuesday, Jan. 2. Mercy Hospital and Mercy Hospital-Unity Campus implemented visitor restrictions on Dec. 28 due to a high volume of patients with flu-like symptoms in their emergency departments. St. Francis Regional Medical Center implemented restricted visitor guidelines on Friday, Dec. 29.


Children under the age of five (5) are asked not to visit patients.

Visitors to Mom Baby/Birth Center units may be screened for wellness and children under 5 will be screened for wellness before visiting.  

Visitors who are sick should refrain from visiting patients in the hospital.

If you or your child has a cough or sore throat, please wear a mask while in our building.

Compassionate exceptions may be considered based on a patient’s critical condition/prognosis. Talk to a nurse.

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