Hospitals refine visitor restrictions and reinforce mask policy as COVID-19 continues


DAYTON — As the spread of COVID-19 continues in communities across Ohio and the Dayton region, members of the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association refined their regional visitor restrictions policy, which took effect on Thursday, Aug. 6.

Because of the widespread nature of COVID-19 in our communities, visitor restrictions remain in place to maintain patient safety in member hospitals throughout GDAHA’s 11-county service area.

In the region’s outpatient, ambulatory, emergency department, and hospital facilities, patients will be permitted one (1) support person in the building at a time provided that adequate social distancing policies can be met and each hospitals’ personal protective equipment supply remains stable. This provision of the regional policy has been amended from permitting one visitor per day and will have a positive impact on patients and their families.

Additional clarification has been added to prohibit visitation in neonatal intensive care units if the mother or partner is COVID-19 positive and still able to transmit the virus. Visitation from COVID-19 positive persons or symptomatic individuals awaiting test results will also not be permitted. Hospitals in the region are adhering to the Centers for Disease Control’s symptom and time-based guidance for COVID-19 transmission.

“Hospitals are continuing to adapt and respond to the changing nature of COVID-19 in our region, said Sarah Hackenbracht, President & CEO of the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association. “The additional flexibility of allowing one visitor at a time per the updated regional visitor restrictions will allow families to better engage in the care and recovery of individuals receiving care from one of our member hospitals.

The following visitation exceptions may apply:

• “End of Life” situations.

• For maternity patients, one (1) additional support person, such as a doula, will be permitted.

• For minor maternity patients, a parent or guardian will also be permitted.

• Minor patients (under 18 years of age) may have two (2) visitors in the emergency department and inpatient setting, but this is limited to only parents or guardians;

• NICU patients will be allowed two (2) visitors for the duration of the patient’s stay with one visitor allowed at a time. Confirmed COVID-19 mothers and partners should not visit NICU infants while able to transmit COVID-19.

• Patients who require assistance due to mobility, reorienting/confusion (patient safety), interpretation, court-ordered, or healthcare decision making may have one (1) additional assistance person;

• No visitors for confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases (unless above

criteria met).

Visitors will not be permitted for confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients in the hospital unless the patient meets one of the above exceptions. Visitors will not be permitted if they are COVID-19 positive or symptomatic and awaiting COVID-19 test results.

In conjunction with the updated visitation restrictions, screening questions and the universal masking policy also remain in place to consistently protect patients and hospital personnel during the ongoing management of COVID-19. GDAHA and the region’s hospitals support Governor DeWine’s statewide approach to masking to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in community settings and have upheld a universal masking policy across all our region’s healthcare facilities since May 2020.

•All employees, staff, patients, and visitors will be screened for symptoms or exposure history.

•Visitors will be asked to leave the facility if they have had symptoms in the past 24 hours or exposures in the last 14 days.

•Employees, staff, patients, and visitors must wash their hands, or use hand sanitizer, before and after leaving rooms and hospital buildings.

•Visitors should wear a mask when in the common areas of the hospital facility, such as hallways, public restrooms, gift shops, and dining areas.

•Visitors will be asked to wear their mask when a caregiver is present in a patient room.

•Patients and visitors may provide and wear their own mask or will be required to accept and wear the mask provided by the hospital facility.

•Masks or facial coverings must fully cover the nose and mouth.

•If a visitor refuses to wear a mask, the visitor may be asked to leave the facility.

Exceptions may be made on an individual basis for those individuals who are unable to wear a mask due to health or disability issues.

“We ask for the public’s patience and cooperation as we learn to live with COVID-19 in our region,” Hackenbracht continued. “These measures will help our hospitals continue to provide the safe and secure environment our patients need to recover .”