Due to an outbreak of flu-related activity Blue Ridge Regional Hospital in Spruce Pine has begun discouraging hospital visitations in order to prevent the spread of illness. Mission Hospital and its other WNC affiliates are limiting visitations and are asking that children under the age of 12 and people who do not feel well call patients on the phone rather than visit them. Should flu activity increase further visitation restrictions may be put in place. Public health officials say that so far there have been 21 flu-related deaths in North Carolina and that 19 of the 21 deaths were young and middle aged adults most of whom had underlying medical conditions. Only two deaths over the age of 65 have been reported due to the flu in NC so far.