GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — Flu season has hit Michigan hard this year -- so hard that hospitals in West Michigan have increased visiting restrictions in hopes of limiting exposure and transmission to patients.  

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Michigan is one of the hardest hit states for respiratory illnesses this season.

Previously, Mercy Health hospitals and Ascension Michigan hospitals announced visitor restrictions amid what the CDC called "widespread activity" of influenza in the state. Starting Wednesday, the restrictions now apply to Metro Health -- University of Michigan and all Spectrum Hospitals, including Helen DeVos Children's Hospital.

RELATED: Some Michigan hospitals restrict visitors during flu outbreak

The Kent County Health Department says the measures are designed to protect vulnerable patients, as well as staff members. 

Visitors are asked to respect the following restrictions:

All visitors are expected to be healthy and the hospitals are taking active steps to protect patients, staff and visitors. A healthy visitor is someone who does not have the following symptoms:

  • Fever, greater than 100.4 F 
  • Cough
  • Sore throat 
  • Runny nose or congestion 
  • Vomiting or diarrhea 
  • Rash or draining sores

The health department says only healthy visitors will be allowed to visit patients in hospitals and outpatient locations. 

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