Following a warm weekend during which three new cases of the coronavirus were confirmed in Madison County, area hospitals are relaxing restrictions to allow one visitor per patient in certain situations.
In March, the hospital began limiting visitation in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and then suspended visitation last month in accordance with state recommendations. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has now eased those guidelines to allow for some visitation.
On Monday, both Baptist Health Richmond and Saint Joseph in Berea announced plans to allow one visitor for most patients taking part in in-patient and out-patient services.
Baptist Health Richmond is modifying visitor restrictions to allow one visitor at a time beginning Friday, May 22.
New visitor guidelines for the Richmond hospital allow in-patients in medical or surgical procedures, as well as ICU/CCU, to be allowed one visitor.
During surgical services, the visitor could be asked to wait in their car in order to maintain social-distancing standards in waiting rooms.
COVID-19 patients and those patients being screened for COVID-19 will not be allowed to have visitors unless the patient’s condition warrants a restricted visit related to the patient outcome. All means for patient/family communication including electronic means (such as videoconferencing and phone calls) will be facilitated by the staff and physicians.
“We know that our patients look forward to visits from their loved ones while they are in the hospital, and we want to facilitate that while still taking appropriate precautions to protect our patients and staff,” Greg Gerard, Baptist Health Richmond president, said. “The safety of our patients and staff is our top priority, and we must ensure that by requiring everyone to wear a mask, and to continue to limit the number of people allowed to visit and encouraging communication through other means.”
Visitor restrictions are part of the infection control measures taken by Baptist Health for the protection of patients and staff. Anyone who enters a Baptist Health facility must wear a mask at all times and be subject to a COVID-19 screening that may include having a temperature taken.
Other visitor requirements include washing hands before and after the visit, wearing a mask at all times, staying two hours or less when visiting a patient room and using designated entrances and exits.
All visitors must enter through the south entrance, except on Sundays, and visitors will enter through the emergency department entrance. Visitation hours are from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Saint Joseph Berea has a new visitation policy that will allow one designated person to accompany patients who are admitted to the hospital for patients in labor and delivery, for patients younger than 18 and for end-of-life care. The updated policy states the patient’s designated support person will be asked to remain with the patient during their stay and will be asked to adhere to specific infection prevention guidelines while in the facility to maintain a safe environment.
In a news release sent out Monday, hospital officials said patients who are scheduled for an outpatient procedure or during a visit to the emergency room, the updated visitation policy states that patient’s support person will be asked to wait in their cars until the provider says it’s OK for entry, or if they are needed for assessment or additional support for the patient.
Anyone entering the facility is required to wear a mask (cloth masks are acceptable) and will be screened with a temperature check. The zero visitor policy remains for ambulatory care services, such as outpatient oncology, physical therapy and rehab appointments. Waiting rooms at physicians’ offices will also remain closed until further notice.
In addition, people with a fever, cough, sore throat or other flu-like symptoms will not be permitted to visit. Anyone who has traveled to a high-risk area for COVID-19 or has had contact with a person known to be infected will not be allowed to visit patients in the hospital.
In order to best serve patients and continue efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19, CHI Saint Joseph Health is continuing to offer virtual care visits for current and new patients.
Patients who currently have a provider with CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group can call that provider’s office to make an appointment for a virtual visit. New patients can call 859-313-2255 to connect with a physician or advanced practice clinician. All CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group providers are equipped to conduct a virtual care visit through Zoom, a HIPAA-compliant video conferencing tool.
In other coronavirus news, the Madison County Health Department reported one new case of the coronavirus in the county Monday. That means there's 41 cases total in Madison County, and 32 of them are recovered.