Last week Upper Allegheny Health System officials voiced concern about COVID-19 community spread in Cattaraugus County and suspended patient visitation at Olean (N.Y.) General Hospital.
Out of concern for possible community spread in McKean County, UAHS has announced the suspension of visitation at Bradford Regional Medical Center and the Pavilion at BRMC.
“Clearly the virus is in the Bradford community just as it is in Olean,” said William Mills, MD, chief medical officer for UAHS. “The predictions of the medical experts are coming true. With the arrival of fall the virus is spreading around the world and here at home. Olean and Bradford are only 20 miles apart and the virus does not respect state lines.”
Mills said exceptions for visitation will include parent visitation for pediatric patients and end-of-life situations.
“We understand the inconvenience issue, especially for residents of the Pavilion, but we will not take chances,” Mills said. “As we said last week, clearly there is a significant portion of the community not taking this seriously. The absence of masks and social distancing is everywhere.
“We are all in this together and we must take this seriously. Everyone needs to take the necessary precautions, now. Our staff and our physicians take this very seriously and make every effort to keep our patients and themselves safe,” said Mills.
He admonished those who are disregarding the virus, and said the community needs to step up and respond to the challenges presented.
“We must remain focused as the likelihood of continued community spread increases as colleges and high schools are now in session and flu season is upon us,” Mills said. “We can’t stop COVID, but we can significantly decrease the risks to our employees, families and community becoming infected if we all do our part — not just in the hospital, but in the community. Remember — wash your hands, wear your mask and maintain your distance.”
Mills said the Upper Allegheny officials have reviewed preparedness plans.
“We have to ensure we are prepared to deal with upticks in patient cases. The fact is that COVID is present at most hospitals,” he said. “It is part of what hospitals everywhere now deal with.”
BRMC and OGH hospital visitation is permitted as follows:
- Emergency department — one visitor
- Obstetrics patients (OGH) — one support person
- Pediatrics — one parent or legal guardian at a time (two parents/guardians may alternate)
- Patients at end-of-life — up to two visitors
- Surgical/procedural outpatient — one visitor to accompany patient, receive discharge instructions and transport patient home
BRMC and OGH — the following visitors will not be allowed:
- Visitors for in-patients, including COVID-19 positive patients and suspected cases of COVID-19
- Persons with fever or other cold and flu-like symptoms
- Visitors to The Pavilion (BRMC)
- Minors under the age of 18 (except in rare situations, approved in advance)
Special situations where a visitor is permitted include patients with intellectual or developmental disabilities, communication barrier, behavioral concerns, significant changes in a patient’s condition or a request for clergy.
Extenuating circumstances within The Pavilion will be considered on a case-by-case basis, the hospital says.
These are in place for the foreseeable future, but they will be reevaluated when the number of new community cases begins to decrease.
“Patient safety is our number one priority. We have every confidence that patients who seek care at BRMC and OGH continue to be safe,” Mills said.