With several people coming down with the flu in Connecticut, nursing homes and houses of worship in the eastern part of the state are taking special precautions.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich suggested to its parishioners who have the flu not go to church and instead watch mass on television or listen on the radio.
On Thursday, everyone attending the midday mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral was aware of the latest influenza virus. When it was time to shake hands or kiss as a sign of peace, virtually no one did.
Bishop Michael Cote asked the pastors of each parish to decide whether their congregation should suspend that tradition as well as the sharing of wine during communion. Wine is not shared normally at St. Patrick's Cathedral.
Parishioners reacted to the flu worries.
"They were just saying today on the news it was all over Boston and all over the country," said Mary Devine of Norwich. "So it's probably a good idea not to shake hands."
Norwich resident Carolyn Besade said she never shakes hands during the winter months.
"We just kind of wave," she said.
At the Ezra Huntington Home in Norwich, people, who have the flu or flu-like symptoms will not be allowed to visit residents.
Signs about the flu have been posted throughout the facility, along with sanitizer stations.
The nursing staff is following strict standardized policies. Families were told not to visit if they are sick. Any residents who experience flu- or cold-like symptoms are isolated.
"The biggest precaution is to wash your hands. We can't say that enough to our staff," said Sandra Hill, who is the director of residents services at Ezra Huntington Home.
The kitchen staff at Ezra Huntington Home are all wearing gloves.
Maintenance director Jeff Brackett said he could almost be a carrier because he is everywhere in the facility.
"I wash my hands more," he said. "That's the most important thing to me."
Copyright 2013 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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