Visitation guidelines under ‘new’ wave of COVID-19

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Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 9:34 PM EDT
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ORANGEBURG, S.C. (WIS) - Hospitals across the Midlands are reporting an uptick in COVID-19 hospitalizations due to an Omicron subvariant labeled BA.5.

COVID-19 hospitalizations in South Carolina are up 38.3% over the previous four-week average. This is according to the latest data published by the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).

Now, local hospitals are combatting the surge with visitation guidelines and restrictions. This report examines three hospitals across Richland, Lexington, and Orangeburg County.

Regional Medical Center in Orangeburg updated its February visitation guidelines on Saturday. Now, one must be 18 years or older to visit someone in the facility. Inpatients are limited to one visitor at a time between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. On the maternity floor, one visitor is permitted to provide support during childbirth.

Lexington Medical Center is operating on a policy installed in March. They allow up to two visitors between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. Similarly, one person is permitted to provide support during childbirth.

Prisma Health in Richland County is operating on a policy effective May 23. They allow up to two visitors for inpatients between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. with one allowed overnight. Patients in labor may have their partners with them.

“Quality and safety is a top priority for South Carolina’s hospitals and health systems. And that’s really what [hospitals] are looking at when they’re implementing these visitation policies” said Schipp Ames, Vice President of Strategic Marketing and Communications for the South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA).

According to SCHA, visitation guidelines are developed at the discretion of the hospital. There has never been a visitation mandate enforced by a government or state agency.

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