South Texas Health Systems began restricting visitation to its healthcare facilities Thursday in response to growing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.
Marcy Martinez, system manager of strategic relationships and public relations, said in an email that the restrictions were expected to be posted on STHS websites by Thursday afternoon.
Limited visitation, as a temporary policy, now allows visitors between noon and 6 p.m. daily, and only two adults per patient. Visitation may be further restricted for people visiting patients who are in isolation.
According to the new policy, all visitors will also be subject to screening upon arriving to a hospital.
The hospitals will also be on the lookout for symptoms of coronavirus, which includes fever, cough and shortness of breath, prohibiting anyone who has been in contact with showing those or influenza-like symptoms within the last 48 hours, in addition to questioning anyone visiting about their travel history.
“… Those who have had travel to an affected country, as currently identified on the CDC Travel Health Notices list, will not be permitted to proceed within the hospital,” the email read.
Hand-washing or sanitizing will be required when entering facilities as well as entering and leaving patients’ rooms.
STHS is also asking people to call before visiting if planning overnight stays in certain departments.
The news comes after the Texas General Land Office began limiting visitation, albeit temporarily, at state veterans homes to only spouses and family members. The Alfredo Gonzalez Texas State Veterans Home in McAllen is one of nine practicing this new policy, which was also taken “out of an abundance of caution” over coronavirus fears.
Verbal and physical screenings for symptoms are also being conducted on residents of the veterans home, which include daily temperature checks and oral conversations about their health. Visitors, staff and vendors are also undergoing screenings at the veterans home.