Area hospitals set visitor restrictions

By Norm Cannada
Courtesy The Journal

PICKENS — Area hospitals are taking extra precautions and setting new visitor restrictions in reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak.

New restrictions for visitors began this week at all Prisma Health facilities in South Carolina, including Oconee Memorial Hospital and Lila Doyle nursing and rehabilitation center in Seneca, as well as Baptist Easley Hospital in Pickens County, according to a Prisma news release.

AnMed Health officials are asking visitors to stay away from the system’s hospitals, including AnMed Health Cannon in Pickens, and are limiting hours and making other restrictions if they do come to see patients. Officials announced Sunday that two patients at AnMed Health Medical Center in Anderson had tested presumptive positive for the virus.

Prisma restrictions

No visitors — including family members — are being allowed at Lila Doyle except in “special circumstances,” such as “end of life care,” according to the news release from Prisma Health. The news release said the rules about Lila Doyle came “under guidance of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.”

The news release said only one visitor per patient is being allowed at other Prisma Health facilities, including Oconee Memorial and Baptist Easley. Visitors must check in at the main entrance, other designated entrance or the emergency department. No one under 18 will be allowed to visit without approval of the patient’s doctor.

The release said visitors will be asked questions to determine if they’ve had fever, cough, sore throat, body aches or nasal congestion in the past 24 hours and their temperature will be taken prior to the visit. They will also be asked about travel outside the country or exposure to a person testing positive for COVID-19.Those with symptoms will be asked to go home and return when those symptoms are gone.

At Prisma Health children’s hospitals, only parents will be allowed to visit, with an exception for “a designated caregiver” in the absence of a parent, according to the release.

The release said Prisma Health is “temporarily pausing volunteer service on its inpatient units, emergency departments and in other areas where volunteers have patient contact.” Volunteers may be moved to “non-patient” areas.

Each hospital is establishing a site for flower delivery, and hospital employees will deliver flowers to patients.

“It’s important to take these precautions to ensure the health of our patients, visitors, health care providers and communities,” Prisma Health director of infection prevention Connie Steed said. “By taking this proactive best-practice step, we can ensure that our hospitals remain safe places to receive high-quality care.”

Other restrictions could be added later, according to the release.

AnMed Health

AnMed Health spokeswoman Lizz Walker said officials are asking patients not to visit its Medical Center, the North Campus or the Women’s and Children’s Hospital mom/baby unit in Anderson or AnMed Health Cannon in Pickens County. For those who do go to see a patient, visiting hours are scaled back to 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

Walker said visitors should be limited to one adult per patient, and visitors may have to have their temperature checked and be subject to verbal screening. She said visitors should wash hands frequently, and anyone with “the flu or respiratory problems” should not visit patients.

Two AnMed Health patients have tested presumptive positive for COVID-19, according to Walker.

“They are in isolation at AnMed Health,” Walker said in a news release.

She added the hospital is “following protocol” from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is prepared “with the appropriate plans to detect, protect and respond to COVID-19.”

“While these restrictions on visitors are significant and may pose a temporary inconvenience, we think they are appropriate for the situation at hand and do not require a lockdown of our facility for those seeking care,” Walker said.