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Providence lifts flu-related restrictions

Providence facilities in Southern Oregon and across the state lifted the temporary visitation restrictions stemming from increased influenza activity in early January.

Providence said visitors should still take reasonable precautions, including covering coughs or sneezes, washing hands and staying home when sick.

Visitation restrictions went into effect Jan. 8, when hospitals and clinics throughout the Providence system in Oregon began seeing a sharp increase in the number of flu cases, spokesperson Hillary Brown said. "That increase has died down," she said.

Over the last few weeks, hospitalizations from flu in Oregon have dropped off, from 115 a week to 23. At the same time, fewer people are turning up at local clinics with flu-like symptoms, health officials report.

They warn that sometimes flu type B comes to the fore after flu type A dies off. This year it's been the type A flu, H1N1, that has caused most of the hospitalizations.