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St. Louis area hospitals go to no-visitor policies due to coronavirus concerns

Each system is making exceptions for certain circumstances

ST. LOUIS — Several hospitals in the St. Louis area, including SSM Health, BJC and Mercy, are making major changes to their visitor policies in response to rising coronavirus concerns.

St. Louis area SSM Health and BJC HealthCare hospitals have restricted visitor access for patients due to COVID-19 concerns.

SSM

"Until further notice, no visitors will be allowed in any of our care sites except in certain circumstances," SSM Health said in a news release.

All St. Louis area SSM Health hospitals and all BJC HealthCare hospitals will implement this no visitor policy starting Monday, March 23.

Patients in pediatric settings, however, such as SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital, will be allowed one visitor with permission from a nursing leader, according to a news release.

When an exception to the no visitor rule is made, visitors must be 18 years of age or older at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital, SSM Health Saint Mary’s Hospital and SSM Health DePaul Hospital.

SSM visitors will also be asked to follow the system's hand hygiene policies and will be asked to wash their hands before and after any visit. Visitors may also be asked to wear a mask or gown in some situations.

BJC

According to  a news release from BJC HealthCare, BJC hospitals will only allow visitors for patients who fall into one or more of the following categories: 

  • Obstetric patients
  • Nursery and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) patients
  • Patients who are at end-of-life
  • Pediatric patients
  • Patients with behavioral health, developmental delays or altered mental status for whom a family member or caregiver is integral to their care or safety
  • Patients with an appointment in a BJC or WUSM outpatient setting, procedural area or in the Emergency Department

Visitors of patients who fall into one or more of these categories must remain with the patient at all times.

BJC HealthCare will not permit any visitors who meet any of the following criteria:

  • Signs or symptoms of acute illness (fever, cough, difficulty breathing)
  • Recent travel (within the last 14 days) from an area with community transmission of COVID-19
  • Recent contact (within the last 14 days) with someone suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19

Visitors of patients at BJC HealthCare hospitals who do meet the exception criteria will be screened before they are allowed in waiting or patient care areas.

Mercy

According to a press release, Mercy will only allow patients in the following situations:

  • One visitor per OB patient
  • Two visitors per NICU patient
  • Two visitors per pediatric patient and only the same two visitors are allowed for the child’s length of stay. If the child is positive for COVID-19, they would then only be allowed one visitor. No sibling visitation is allowed for pediatric patients (includes newborn population).
  • One visitor for urgent procedures
  • Exceptions will be made for compassionate care circumstances
  • Generally, adult behavioral health patients will not be allowed visitors, child/adolescent patients are limited to one visitor and supervised video visits are encouraged.

Everyone, including patients, visitors and co-workers, will be screened upon arrival for fever, symptoms and travel.

All three systems have asked anyone who is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 not to visit. If you are feeling sick, you can be screened for the virus virtually by visiting www.ssmhealth.com/covid19, the release said.

SSM open its first coronavirus testing facility on Tuesday. The first site will be in St. Charles County. They will eventually open five. The exact locations have not been released, and they will only be open to people who have been screened and approved to get tested.

READ MORE: List of coronavirus testing centers in the St. Louis area

You can see what each hospital system is doing to keep patients safe from COVID-19 on their websites.

Memorial Hospital and Memorial Hospital East are no longer allowing visitors to the hospital, which is in compliance with Illinois' stay-at-home order. There are some exceptions to the rule. Obstetrical patients are allowed one support person throughout their stay. Hospice patients are allowed one support person. Pediatric inpatients under 18 are allowed two parents or guardians. Patients getting emergency care are allowed one support person, who must stay in a designated waiting area. Surgery patients are allowed one support person, who must stay in a designated pre/post room.

St. Luke's Hospital announced it's suspending visitations for all inpatient areas, including the ICU, unless they meet designated exceptions. For more information, click here.

OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony's announced visitations are suspended except for certain exceptions. For more information on the visitor restrictions in place for all of OSF HealthCare's locations, click here.

Regional Health Services announced it is limiting visitor hours to noon to 7 p.m. Two visitors are allowed in obstetrics and pediatrics. Otherwise, only one visitor is allowed at a time. Visitors under the age of 16 are not allowed, including siblings.

HSHS St. Joseph's Hospital Breese and Highland and HSHS Holy Family Hospital Greenville will no longer allow visitors beginning at 6 a.m. on March 21. There are some exceptions to the rule. Obstetrical patients will be allowed one support person, who must be the same person throughout the stay. Pediatric inpatients under the age of 18 are allowed one parent or guardian. Patients getting emergency care or having surgery can have one support person, but they can't be under the age of 18 unless they are the parent.

HSHS St. Elizabeth's Hospital announced it is no longer allowing visitors effective March 20. There are some exceptions to the rule. Obstetrical patients can have one support person who needs to be the same throughout their stay. Hospice patients are allowed one person. Pediatric inpatients under 18 can have one parent or guardian. Patients getting emergency care are allowed one support person who must stay in the waiting area. Surgery patients can have one support person who must stay in the pre/post room. 

All St. Louis area SSM Health hospitals and all BJC HealthCare hospitals will implement this no visitor policy starting Monday, March 23.

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