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Aiken hospital curbs visitors amid renewed COVID threat

Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 12:32 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 28, 2021 at 12:33 PM EDT
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AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - Amid rising COVID-19 cases, relatively low vaccination rates and a new threat from the delta variant, Aiken Regional Medical Center is tightening up its visitation policy again.

To continue to ensure the safety of patients, guests, associates and the community, Aiken Regional visitation hours will be limited to 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. with the following guidelines:

Emergency department: One visitor may accompany a patient. The visitor must come in with the patient and stay in the specific room/bay assigned to patient until discharge. If the patient is admitted, the visitor may accompany the patient if during visiting hours.

Inpatient areas: Patients are allowed one visitor per day during visiting hours. The visitor is limited to the patient’s room with minimal movement throughout the hospital. We encourage the visitor to stay as long as they’d like during visiting hours, refraining from multiple visits in one day.

  • Labor and delivery/postpartum: New mothers are permitted one adult visitor (deemed a support person) that is permitted to stay overnight. Visitors are not permitted for diagnostic testing.
  • Patients with physical, intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and patients with cognitive impairments can be accompanied by one adult visitor that is permitted to stay overnight.
  • Intensive Care Unit: One visitor is permitted per day during visiting hours.
  • Progressive Care Unit: Une visitor is permitted per day during visiting hours
  • A patient at the end of life is permitted two visitors and a clergyman. An exception may be made on a case-by-case basis.
  • Pediatric patients can be accompanied by one adult/guardian throughout the entire treatment; siblings are not permitted.
  • Outpatient testing/surgery: one visitor may accompany a patient. Surgery visitors may stay in the waiting room, wait in their vehicle, or leave and come back when notified by phone that the patient is ready to be discharged and picked up.
  • Behavioral health: Visitors are not permitted at this time.

Visitors must be at least 18 years of age; an exception may be made if the patient is at the end of life. Patients who have tested positive for COVID-19, or who are pending COVID-19 test results, are not permitted visitors.

“Until recently, we were fortunate to report that we have had no positive COVID-19 cases in the hospital for a few weeks and we were seeing a downward trend,” said Jim O’Loughlin, chief executive officer at the hospital. “However, with the increase in positive cases throughout our area, and the new delta variant being a growing concern, we will continue to take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of all patients in our care and individuals who enter our facilities.”

The changes come on the heels of Augusta University Health also making adjustments.

COVID count

As of 9 a.m. Wednesday, 14 individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 are currently receiving care in Aiken Regional.

“With less than 50 percent of South Carolina residents having received the COVID-19 vaccine to date, we are concerned that if we do not see an increase in vaccinations, we will continue to see an increase in positive cases in the coming weeks and months,” said O’Loughlin. “We encourage the public to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, if you have not already.”

The hospital will continue to screen all patients, visitors, medical staff and associates prior to entry to all Aiken Regional facilities, and all individuals are required to wear a mask while in facilities, regardless of having received the COVID-19 vaccine. Face coverings should be properly worn, covering the nose and mouth while in the facility. Neck huggers/gaiters and bandanas are not approved coverings.

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