UVA Health banning visitors in wake of COVID-19 surge

University of Virginia Medical Center
University of Virginia Medical Center
Updated: Jan. 12, 2021 at 7:09 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Visiting rules are changing at the University of Virginia Health System. This comes in response to an increase in COVID-19 cases around Charlottesville and across Virginia.

The health system is prohibiting visitors to its inpatient units, emergency department, outpatient clinics, and outpatient procedural areas starting Wednesday, January 13.

“We know this is a very difficult decision,” UVA Health’s administrator of hospitality and support services Bush Bell said. “When we decide not to allow visitors into any of our care sites, we know that has a big impact on our patients.”

However, there are some exceptions to the new rules. Those exceptions may include patients getting ready for a transplant, patients giving birth, and patients at the end of life.

Pediatric patients and those with disabilities may have one adult visitor with them 24 hours a day, seven days a week, throughout their hospital stay. The hospital will screen anybody who falls into that category.

Bell says the top priority is to protect the health of patients and employees as coronavirus cases increase.

“This may feel kind of like a last resort, but we know it’s an important part of our tool belt that allows us to control the spread of COVID-19 and keep everyone safe,” Bell said.

Bell also says this rule could ease up once the area’s rate of positive cases goes down. As of January 12, the percent positivity rate in the Blue Ridge Health District was 10%, which is the highest it has been since mid-April of 2020.

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