PeaceHealth announces temporary visitor guidelines in response to an increased number of pertussis cases


​Due to an increase in pertussis (whooping cough) activity in our community, PeaceHealth is issuing new temporary guidelines for visitors to its hospitals and clinics at the following locations:

• PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend
• PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center, University District
• PeaceHealth Cottage Grove Community Medical Center
• PeaceHealth Peace Harbor Medical Center
• PeaceHealth Medical Group
The revised guidelines are intended to protect the public, PeaceHealth caregivers, and medically at-risk populations from becoming ill with pertussis.
The guidelines include:
• Any patient or visitor who arrives at our facilities with cold-like symptoms will be required to wear a mask.
• We are discouraging visitation to our hospitals by children under the age of 1 because they are most at risk for severe complications of pertussis.
• Children 12 and under are not allowed to visit the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Sacred Heart at RiverBend.
PeaceHealth providers have diagnosed 12 confirmed pertussis cases since July 1, 2013, nine of which have been seen since July 10. We saw three cases in the Emergency Department on Tuesday, July 23. All patients seen have been age 16 or younger.
Limiting the number of visitors is necessary to reduce the risk of spreading pertussis, which is highly contagious. Pertussis can cause uncontrollable, violent coughing, which often makes it hard to breathe. After fits of many coughs, someone with pertussis often needs to take deep breaths, which result in a "whooping" sound. Pertussis most commonly affects infants and young children and can be fatal, especially in babies less than 1 year of age.
These new visitor guidelines are temporary and will be lifted once the community sees a sustained downward trend in pertussis cases in the inpatient hospital population as well as outpatient medical clinics. PeaceHealth continues to collaborate with Lane County Public Health to monitor and respond to the recent increase in pertussis cases.
The best way to prevent pertussis is to get vaccinated. PeaceHealth encourages community members who have not been immunized against pertussis to talk to their health care provider about getting the vaccine. Because infants are especially vulnerable to severe infection, we recommend that parents and any other adult in contact with the baby receive the pertussis immunization.