NORFOLK, Va. — Widespread flu activity has hit Virginia and Sentara hospital staff are taking precautionary measures.

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Starting Thursday, visitors will be greeted by signs that strongly encourage them to wear masks. It’s to prevent the spread of the disease.

"Really, we can't validate who has or hasn't had the influenza vaccine,” said Dr. Tony Fisher with the Influenza Prevention Task Force. “So, we will recommend to all visitors to mask for their safety and safety of patients in the hospital."

Staff who are not vaccinated are also required to wear masks. Employees who do have the flu shot have red dot stickers on their badges.

“We have this ‘wingman’ mentality, so if they see someone who maybe isn’t masked and doesn’t have a red dot, it’s to remind them to wear a mask for the safety of themselves and our patients,” Dr. Fisher said.

The signs and warnings are expected to stay in place until flu activity decreases.