HUDSON — Columbia Memorial Health is one of many local hospitals to impose new restrictions on in-person visitation as area COVID-19 numbers continue to climb.

Several local hospitals are adjusting their policies on patient visitation to help reduce potential spread of the virus.

Columbia Memorial updated its visitation policy by temporarily suspending visits to all patient-care units.

The hospital is making special considerations for pediatric patients, women giving birth, patients who are medically allowed to have a support person and patients who are receiving end-of-life care.

“A big part of the restriction is to prevent COVID from coming into the hospital,” Columbia Memorial Health spokesman Bill Van Slyke said. “It has a lot to do with the status of the virus in the community, not necessarily in the hospital.”

Columbia Memorial is also permitting patients undergoing surgery to be accompanied by one person who is allowed to be with the patient during the intake process and then the visitor will be taken to a waiting area.

Albany Medical Center put a similar policy into effect Wednesday. Visitors are limited to patients near the end of life, parents or guardians of hospitalized children and birthing partners.

Compassionate exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis, according to a statement from the hospital this week.

“We remain vigilant to the threat COVID-19 presents all of us,” Albany Medical Center President and CEO Dennis P. McKenna M.D. said in a statement. “But we must not allow fear of the virus to deter us from necessary care. Albany Med is here for you. Albany Med is safe for you.”

St. Peter’s Health Partners updated the hospital’s visitation policy Saturday. The hospital is not allowing visitors, with exceptions for end-of-life situations, parents or guardians of minors, labor and delivery support, and in instances when it is essential for a patient with special needs or cognitive disabilities.

With these exceptions patients will be allowed to have a single visitor, according to a statement from Robert Webster Jr., St. Peter’s Health Partners manager of Public Relations and Digital Communications.

Visitors will be screened at the door, given a temperature check and asked travel questions prior to being escorted to the floor of the patient they are visiting, Webster said.

Visitors are required to stay in their patient’s room at all times except when they enter or leave the hospital, Webster said.

The hospitals imposed similar restrictions on visitation early in the spring when COVID numbers began increasing.

During the summer, when numbers of COVID cases had seen improvement, the hospitals were able to relax some of the policies that had been put in place.

“The policy now is more in line with the policy that we had back in the late winter, early spring,” Van Slyke said.

The state Department of Health in June set guidelines for hospital visitation requiring all visitors to have their temperature checked.

The guidelines limited the number of hours a visitor could be in the hospital to four and visitors must be at least 18 years of age.

Separation of patients and their loved ones during hospitalization can cause a significant amount of stress and anxiety and the opportunity to visit a hospitalized patient must be done in a way that prevents the spread of COVID-19, according to the guidelines.

In Columbia County, there have been 803 positive COVID cases. There are 27 county residents hospitalized because of COVID-19, two of whom are in the intensive care unit.

Over the past month, the total number of COVID cases in Columbia County have increased by about 26.1%. The county reports 43 deaths from COVID-19.

In Greene County, there has been a total of 580 positive COVID cases. Two residents are hospitalized because of COVID-19.

Over the past month, the total number of COVID cases in Greene County has increased by about 24.6%. The county reports 19 deaths from COVID-19.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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