VCU Medical Center changes visitor policy as COVID-19 hospitalizations increase

VCU Medical Center changes visitor policy as COVID-19 hospitalizations increase
VCU Health (Source: Capital News Service)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Following Thanksgiving, the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center has seen a “drastic increase” in patients being admitted with COVID-19.

Health officials said coronavirus hospitalizations have surpassed, for the first time, the level experienced during the last peak in Virginia.

“Averaging 70 or more hospitalized COVID-19 patients at any given time just this past week, we urge the public to prioritize safety this holiday season,” VCU Medical Center said.

Starting on Tuesday, December 22, adult inpatients will be able to have visitors from 12-8 p.m.

The hospital also asks that patients limit their one visitor a day to the same person for the duration of their stay.

Across the Commonwealth, there are more than 2,400 hospitalized for COVID-19.

“Those are the highest numbers that we’ve seen throughout the pandemic and in fact, the increase in hospitalizations I would say has been pretty steady on an upward trajectory going all way back to the mid part of October,” said Julian Walker, Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association.

Walker says there are about 7,000 hospital beds still available across the Commonwealth. But Walker says the number of beds might not be the problem; you need appropriate staffing as well.

“If your staff that is exposed to COVID-19, then because of the protocols that are in place, they need to isolate or quarantine and so what that can lead to having a diminished staff, even though you have adequate employees, you have employees that are temporarily sidelined because they have to isolate or quarantine,” he said.

Starting on Jan. 5, VCU is once again changing its visitor policy. No visitors will be allowed in the Adult Emergency Department.

There are limited exceptions.

Children are still allowed to have two adult visitors in the emergency department.

For more information on the hospital’s visitor policy, click here.

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