LEWISTON — On the heels of a flu-filled week for people in Androscoggin County, both Lewiston hospitals are asking visitors to wash their hands and wear masks.

Central Maine Medical Center announced Thursday that it’s dealing with a flu outbreak. Spokeswoman Kate Carlisle said CMMC has issued its temporary new rules “in an abundance of caution.”

“We’ve been seeing a lot of flu coming through our (emergency department),” she said.

St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center has also seen an uptick in flu cases, both through the emergency room and among inpatients, a spokesman said.

CMMC and St. Mary’s aren’t the only ones making changes because of the flu. CMMC’s parent, Central Maine Healthcare, announced this week that its Bridgton and Rumford hospitals are discouraging children younger than 12 from visiting. If children do visit, the hospitals ask that they stay in the patient’s room and limit their time. The hospitals also ask all people, regardless of age, not to visit if they feel unwell or have a fever or cough.

Maine is in the middle of flu season. Last week, the state recorded 861 positive tests for the flu, 165 of them in Androscoggin County — the most of any county in Maine for that week. Franklin County recorded 22 and Oxford County saw 64.

Overall this season, 580 people have tested positive in Androscoggin County, making Androscoggin’s flu level second only to that of York County, which has seen 787 cases.

State health officials said Maine experienced a slow start to the flu season, but the illness is now widespread. According to the state’s most recent weekly flu report, more than 3,900 people have tested positive in Maine so far and 336 have been hospitalized. Since January, the state has seen hundreds of new cases each week. Fourteen people have died this season.

The flu most often peaks between December and March.

“We don’t know when it will peak or how many people will get influenza, but people can take steps to protect themselves and their families,” said Jackie Farwell, acting spokeswoman for the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

The department recommends that people get vaccinated, wash their hands frequently, cover their cough and stay home when sick.

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