Mount Sinai Hospital System in New York has moved to prohibit visitors in a bid to protect patients from the novel coronavirus. Effective March 17, visitors to the emergency departments, inpatient units, ambulatory sites and other facilities will be prohibited except for limited circumstances.
The limited circumstances include one healthy visitor for pediatrics/NICU, one healthy partner for maternity and postpartum, one healthy visitor for end of life/palliative care, one healthy visitor for ambulatory geriatrics and one healthy visitor allowed to pick up discharged patients.
In the emergency departments, one healthy visitor is allowed to accompany patients who require assistance, and one visitor per pediatric patient is allowed in the pediatric ED, which must be a parent or a caregiver. Visitors who show possible symptoms of COVID-19 will be asked to leave.
“In lieu of a personal visit, we strongly encourage everyone to use FaceTime or other virtual means to connect with a love done in the hospital,” according to a hospital press release. “We apologize for any inconvenience this new policy may cause, and we hope you understand we do not make these decisions lightly or without considerable thought. These are difficult but necessary steps intended to keep everyone safe as we manage the COVID-19 crisis.”
As of March 17, New York has confirmed at least 967 and 10 deaths. Nationwide, the number of COVID-19 cases has reached over 4,661, and at least 85 deaths. On Monday, New York, Connecticut and New Jersey shuttered bars, restaurants and movie theaters in an effort to stifle the spread of the virus throughout the metro tristate area.
“Our primary goal right now is to slow the spread of this virus so that the wave of new infections doesn’t crash our health care system, and everyone agrees social distancing is the best way to do that,” New York’s Gov. Cuomo said on Monday. “This is not a war that can be won alone, which is why New York is partnering with our neighboring states to implement a uniform standard that not only keeps our people safe but also prevents ‘state shopping’ where residents of one state travel to another and vice versa.”