BEMIDJI-Sanford Health implemented new visitor restrictions for its facilities in Bemidji and Bagley Monday in response to a growing number of influenza cases.

According to a press release, a sustained increase in both influenza and other respiratory illnesses across the state led Sanford to place guidelines at the Bemidji Medical Center, the Bemidji WoodsEdge Senior Living Campus and Baker Park senior housing and the Bagley Medical Center,

The guidelines are in place in order to protect patients, nursing home residents and employees from becoming infected, a release said.

The restrictions, which went into effect at noon Monday, are for all visitors, including staff and families. The restrictions include:

• Only two visitors, age 5 and older, per patient.

• Patient visitors are limited to clergy and immediate family members, including spouse or significant other, parent or grandparent, inlaws, siblings and children.

• Children between the ages of 5 and 14 must wear a mask.

• Those showing signs of a respiratory illness, including a fever or chills, muscle or body aches, sore throat, cough, stuffy nose, headache and fatigue, may not visit unless granted permission for compassionate reasons such as end-of-life care.