TidalHealth Will Suspend Visits With Hospital Patients, Pause Some Surgeries

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TidalHealth plans to suspend visits with patients at TidalHealth Nanticoke Hospital in Seaford and TidalHealth Peninsula Regional in Salisbury beginning Monday, December 27th. Both hospitals will also temporarily pause elective, non-emergency surgeries that require an overnight stay.

“A spike in COVID-19 cases, other seasonal illnesses and the many health needs of our communities, coupled with unprecedented workforce constraints have come together to create a perfect storm for healthcare providers,” TidalHealth Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer Dr. Sarah Arnett said. “We are taking these steps for the safety of our patients and our healthcare team.”

The decision follows a directive from the State of Maryland that hospitals act in response to high patient volumes and demand for hospital beds. Although the State of Delaware currently does not have a similar directive, TidalHealth Nanticoke will undertake the same measures due to COVID-19 admissions.

“The COVID-19 omicron variant and the continued presence of the Delta variant are driving high rates of transmission and hospitalization,” TidalHealth CEO Steve Leonard said. “Getting vaccinated can reduce the severity of illness and the risk of transmission and will help take the pressure off our extremely busy facilities.”

TidalHealth released additional information Wednesday afternoon:


To protect patients, although visitation will be open until Dec. 27, do not visit patients at either hospital if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or any illness. Community spread of COVID-19 is very high, so consider carefully whether visitation is safe for loved ones in the hospital.

A multidisciplinary clinical team is evaluating all non-emergency, non-life-threatening surgeries requiring an overnight stay and those that can be postponed will be. Patients affected by the pause are being notified ahead of time by their surgeon’s office. Any questions should also be directed to that surgical practice.

The pause will remain in place until Maryland COVID-19 hospitalizations fall below the 1,200 mark in accordance with Governor Hogan’s directive. TidalHealth will continuously evaluate the current staffing and capacity issues so that this suspension of visitation and elective surgeries requiring an overnight stay can be lifted as soon as it’s safe to do so. 
The visitation policy will also be revisited. Exceptions to the current no-visitors policy will include end-of-life visitation and disabled people who need a support person, as well as Labor & Delivery/Mother-Baby patients, who may have one support person with them at all times (one designated person the whole time) as well as a doula who has been through the approval process. 

  • Emergency department patients may have a support patient when they are placed in an ED room. Support people may not wait in the ED waiting room to help reduce the risk of transmission.
  • Pediatric patients may have one support person with them throughout their stay.
  • Outside vendors are not permitted inside our facilities unless required for medical care. 
  • For outpatient surgeries, one support person may remain with the patient only until they are taken back into surgery. 
  • One support person is permitted during diagnostic imaging and testing. 
  • Masks are required at all TidalHealth facilities. Gaiters and bandanas are not permitted. 

We encourage loved ones to stay in touch with family members via phone, Facetime and other electronic means. E-cards are available on our website here.