MINNEAPOLIS — Fairview Health Services is tightening its visitors' policy at its hospitals due to widespread flu.

The health care provider is screening all visitors for flu-like symptoms and exposure to those with the flu. Visitors must also be at least 5 years old. Patients and visitors are also being instructed on hand hygiene.

The health system's sites include Fairview Ridges Hospital in Burnsville, Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina, Fairview Northland Medical Center in Princeton, Fairview Lakes Medical Center in Wyoming, the University of Minnesota Medical Center and University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital in Minneapolis and Fairview Range Medical Center in Hibbing.

The Minnesota Department of Health says the flu is now widespread in Minnesota, a sign this year's influenza season will be harsher than most.