After four months of strict regulations prohibiting in-person visitation during the COVID-19 outbreak, Columbia Memorial Health is now easing up on its restrictions. That’s good news for the patients and their families.

The hospital’s revised guidelines, approved by the state Health Department, allows limited visitation to resume yet accomplishes it in a way that is safe for all patients, visitors and staff.

Visiting hours are permitted daily between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., and each patient will be allowed one visitor per day. Different visitors will be allowed, but only one each day.

All visitors must be at least 18 years of age and must wear a face mask when entering the hospital and for the duration of the visit. Hand hygiene must be practiced both before entering the patient’s room and when leaving the room. Temperatures will be checked prior to entering the hospital, and anyone with a temperature above 100.4 degrees will not be allowed in.

The hospital will closely monitor the situation and make any additional revisions that become necessary. Thorough monitoring can identify strengths and weaknesses in the protocols as the region continues its effort to tamp down the coronavirus. It’s not a stretch to say that we will have to learn to live with the virus for the foreseeable future.

It’s encouraging that the hospital’s patients and their loved ones will get to see each other again after 120 long days of separation and isolation. They can be just as devastating as the illness. The silver lining, then, is that the hospital’s protocols will bring people together and help relieve the physical suffering and mental stresses of the coronavirus.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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