Atlantic General Hospital changes visitor policy in response to coronavirus

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As the coronavirus continues to spread, Atlantic General Hospital is taking steps to protect patients, visitors, associates, medical staff and the community.

Atlantic General Hospital (AGH) staff are following protocols from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and working with experts from across the state and the county to keep the community safe and informed.

AGH is implementing changes to their visitor policy. As the coronavirus remains a rapidly evolving situation, the changes are being implemented beginning Friday, March 20 until further notice.

No visitors for inpatients will be permitted once the protocols go into effect. In addition, only one adult visitor will be allowed per patient for Emergency Room visits, and they must remain with the patient.

All 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 their arrival into the United States.

“The coronavirus poses several challenges, including potential spread of the virus to patients and staff by those with asymptomatic or mild infection,” said Sally Dowling, MD, chief medical officer for AGH. “Enacting these changes to visitation is consistent with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding response to the coronavirus.”

The hospital will make exceptions to the policy in certain circumstances, including end-of-life care, required caregivers, and 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 our caregivers, patients and the community.