As the novel coronavirus continues to spread, Atlantic General Hospital is following protocols from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and implementing changes to its visitor policy, the hospital announced March 17.
These changes are in effect beginning March 20, until further notice.
Highlights of the Enhanced Patient Safety Policy include:
— No visitors for inpatients will be permitted.
— One adult visitor is allowed per patient for emergency room visits and must remain with the patient.
— No visitors younger than 18 are permitted to visit the hospital, including all waiting areas and common spaces. This also applies to clinics, urgent care facilities and physician offices with the exception of pediatric providers.
— Visitors will be screened for flu-like symptoms — fever, cough, shortness of breath — and will not be permitted to visit the hospital if symptoms are present.
— Visitors who have travelled internationally may not visit for 14 days after arrival into the U.S.
— AGHRx RediScripts will remain open for patient refills; visit bit.ly/2UgNzSI for instructions.
“The coronavirus poses several challenges, including potential spread of the virus to patients and staff by those with asymptomatic or mild infection,” said AGH Chief Medical Officer Sally Dowling. “Enacting these changes to visitation is consistent with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding response to the coronavirus. These enhanced visitor limitations are designed to protect the health and safety of the public, our staff and our patients, now that there are confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Maryland.”
Certain exceptions to the policy may be made in particular circumstances and with prior approval, including for end-of-life care and required caregivers; two parents/caregivers of pediatric patients will be permitted as long as neither adult has flu-like symptoms.
In addition to the changes outlined above and under the recommendation of infection prevention experts, AGH is also indefinitely suspending all animal therapy.
AGH experts urge the public to practice vigilant hand hygiene, follow respiratory etiquette — cover mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing — maintain social distances when possible and avoid shaking hands. These strategies are fundamental to protecting caregivers, patients and the community.
For more, visit atlanticgeneral.org/patients-visitors/covid-19-updates.