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Q: Have hospitals in the area lifted their flu-season visitor restrictions yet?

A: Flu levels have declined in Illinois and most other states, but visitor restrictions are still in effect at Carle Foundation Hospital, OSF Heart of Mary Medical Center and OSF Sacred Heart Medical Center.

Carle officials said flu-like illness isn't entirely gone from the local area, and some cases are still coming through the emergency department and convenient care.

Visitor restrictions are kept in place for two weeks after flu-like illness falls below an Illinois Department of Public Health baseline, according to Taffy Creviston, senior infection preventionist at Carle.

The baseline is 1.8 percent of all cases being handled by the emergency department and convenient care being flu-like illness, she said.

"We are still above the IDPH baseline, but we just watch it every week," she said.

This has been a longer-than-normal flu season, but flu is tapering off in this area, Creviston said.

The most recent update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (April 20) placed flu at the "local" level in Illinois, meaning there is still confirmed flu and flu-like illness in the state but it's in a single region.

Flu season has been dragging on since late November, and it picked up enough in this area for hospitals to begin restricting visitors in early January.

Under visitor restrictions advised by the state Department of Public Health, kids and teens under 18 and all people with flu-like and respiratory illness symptoms are asked to refrain from visiting patients at the hospital and the number of visitors should be limited to two at a time per patient room.

Some hospitals in Illinois have already begun lifting flu season visitor restrictions.

Memorial Health System's four hospitals in Springfield, Jacksonville, Taylorville and Lincoln, for example, lifted their restrictions on Monday due to diminished flu levels.