Hospitals opt to make changes to align with COVID-19 numbers

Thursday, May 14, 2020
News 12 at 11 o'clock/NBC at 12

(Source: WRDW)

AUGUSTA, GA. (WRDW/WAGT) -- If you're a visitor or coming in for surgery when you walk through the doors of a healthcare facility, you'll be screened and asked questions.

Then if you're cleared, you'll get a sticker and sent on your way. This may be the new normal.

While isolation is part of the new normal, it's devastating for families have loved ones in the hospital.

"When you go into healthcare, you're doing this because you're compassionate and want to make sure patients and families are together and then when you have to put in these types of restrictions because of COVID, it's a painful thing," Julie Moretz, assistant vice president for Family and Family Center Care, said.

Keeping families connected is Moretz's job.

They've been doing virtual visits, but are now allowing one visitor per patient, unless its COIVD-19 related. They've also started resuming some elective procedures.

"I think just like everybody were taking this day by day, keeping our eye on the prize where we can get back to normal, whatever that is," Moretz said.

Over at University Hospital, they've kickstarted phase one -- including a controlled start of elective procedures for patients in critical need.

While the hospital's 'no visitor' policy remains in place, there are exceptions like end of life circumstances or labor.

"Every day it gets a little better," Doug Welch, CEO of Doctors Hospital.

At Doctors Hosptial, it's one visitor per patient policy.

"In April, our volume dropped off significantly, about 45 percent less patients in our ER," Welch said. "Then as more testing and PPE became available we started opening back up."

Welch says their priority was getting families back together, and surgeries back in action.

"I think we're all worried about our rural hospital partners across the state, across the country as their volumes decline," Welch said.

During this time in the pandemic, the goal for most hospitals is to get back to some sort of normal by June or July, but it's, of course, a day-by-day day process. They'll continue to reevaluate all safety policies depending on case totals.

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