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YAKIMA, Wash. — With flu season in full swing, Virginia Mason Memorial hospital is restricting visitors beginning Saturday.

Children 12 and younger and anyone with flu-like symptoms, a fever or cough will not be allowed to visit patients until further notice, hospital officials announced in a news release.

"We are taking this precaution to protect patients, our employees and our community. Children, seniors and those whose health is already compromised are particularly vulnerable to becoming ill," the release said.

About 700 flu cases have been reported since October, with numbers increasing the past few weeks, according to data from the Yakima Health District. The hospital is working with the Health District to track cases.

Hospital officials ask visitors to use hand hand sanitizer, wear masks provided near the hospital's entrance and keep visits brief.

More information can be found from the state Department of Health.

Reach Phil Ferolito at pferolito@yakimaherald.com or on Twitter: @philipferolito