On Wednesday, Governor Kay Ivey updated the Safer-at-Home orders for Alabama. Her announcement included a call for hospitals to allow one visitor or caregiver per patient starting October 2, subject to reasonable restrictions. EAMC has established color-coded levels that will be subject to change based on the prevalence of COVID-19 cases in Lee County and/or on the number of patients currently hospitalized with COVID-19. Based on those criteria, EAMC will begin visitation at 12 noon Friday using the “Orange Level” guidelines for non-COVID patients.
“We’ve had a team working on visitor guidelines for about a couple of weeks now and planned to phase it in so as to help it go smoothly,” said John Atkinson, EAMC spokesman. “However, the order Wednesday caused us to fast-track the guidelines. We asked that people please read our guidelines carefully so that they understand the restrictions under the current color and what will be required of them based on the area the patient is in. We also ask that people are patient with our staff members during the screening process.” Atkinson said updates will be provided over the next few days as the hospital works to safely re-start visitation protocols while still involved in the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that changes will likely take place until the process is running smoothly.
Referring to visitation of patients in the hospital, Atkinson said there are three things that visitors should remember that will speed the screening/check-in process. “A visitor must have a current photo ID so that we can scan them into the system and provide them with a visitor badge,” he said. “They must also wear a mask upon entry and throughout their visit. Lastly, the room number of the patient they will be visiting is needed during check-in, so knowing that ahead of time will help prevent a delay.”
Visitors are also reminded that they should not visit if they have any COVID-19 symptoms. These include: fever (must be less than 99.0 to visit), chills, shortness of breath, fatigue, body aches, headache, new loss of small or taste, sore throat, congestion, runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea. These symptoms typically appear 2-14 days after exposure.
*These exact guidelines do not apply to long-term care facilities, but they do have a separate set of guidelines that allow for visitation. Staff members at EAMC-Lanier Nursing Home, Oak Park Nursing Home and the EAMC Skilled Nursing Facility will be reaching out to resident sponsors directly on Friday with the guidelines.