New ER, new flu precautions

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Maine Medical Center opened the doors of its expanded Emergency Department on Nov. 12, the final phase of a $170 million expansion at the Portland hospital that also included adding a helipad, parking garage and a designated women and infant services department. Also last week, Maine Med and Mercy Hospital announced new visitor screening precautions to protect against the H1N1 virus. Mercy Hospital has closed its State Street entrance; visitors and patients must use the Emergency Department entrance on Spring Street, and everyone entering will be asked to use sanitizing hand gel. Patients and visitors to the hospital’s Fore River facility will also have to use the hand gel before entering. Maine Med is also asking visitors to use hand sanitizer when they enter and a hospital greeter will screen all visitors, asking if they feel feverish or ill. If so they will be asked to leave and return when they feel well Both hospitals said anyone who needs medical attention or has an appointment should go to the hospital, but may be asked to wear a face mask.