President toughens COVID-19 recommendations; Columbus Regional, McLeod tighten visitation policies

Columbus Regional visitor restriction sign

By DEUCE NIVEN

tribdeuce@tabor-loris.com

     Stay home, and avoid gathering in groups larger than 10, President Donald Trump said during a news briefing in The White House Monday, just hours after Columbus Regional and McLeod Health leaders announced new visitation restrictions at their facilities.

Presidential recommendations

     President Trump’s recommendation on public gatherings exceeds recommendations from The Centers for Disease Control to limit gathers to no more than 50, or an Executive Order from Gov. Roy Cooper limiting those gatherings to 100.

     That order, NC Health & Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cowan said Monday, carries the force of law, with local law enforcement authorized to enforce the ban on gatherings of more than 100 people.

     President Trump, in guidelines he said were effective for the next 15 days, and to be reviewed as that time passes, also recommended:

  • That all school instruction take place at home. Local school districts across the country have, or are developing distance learning plans as schools are close. In North Carolina public schools are closed at least through March 27, in South Carolina the closings extend for not to March 31. Public school closings in both states began today (Monday).
  • Suspending all discretionary travel.
  • To avoid eating and drinking in bars, restaurants, and public food courts.

     President Trump also said that public health officials do not expect the COVID-19 outbreak to subside until July or August.

 Columbus Regional

     Columbus Regional Healthcare “is implementing stricter restrictions on visitors” in response to COVID-19 concerns, a Monday news release said.

     “Our top priority is the safety of our patients, their family, and our teammates,” the news release said. “While we understand that these restrictions may be an inconvenience to families with patients in the hospital, we must all do what we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to keep our patients, teammates, and community healthy.:

     Effective immediately, these restrictions are in place:

  • Visitors are limited to one immediate family member older than the age of 18. Pediatric patients will be allowed to have up to two designated guardians per patient. Exceptions will be granted on a case-by-case basis for end-of-life situations. All visitors may be subject to a health screening at any time. No visitors under the age of 18 are allowed to visit until further notice.
  • Visitors, of any age, with fever, cough, or trouble breathing are not permitted on campus, unless they are seeking emergency medical care.
  • The hospital will begin limiting entry points into the facility. Any outpatient surgery patients will now enter the hospital at the covered walkway, not the yellow canopy. Holding consistent with the visitor policy, only one immediate family member will be allowed with the patient.

     Policies and guidelines are likely to change “due to the rapidly changing nature of this event,” CRHS said. “Please continue to review the Columbus Regional Healthcare System Website and Facebook page for the latest information.”

     Policies and guidelines are likely to change “due to the rapidly changing nature of this event,” CRHS said. “Please continue to review the Columbus Regional Healthcare System Website and Facebook page for the latest information.”

McLeod Health

     Stressing its preparedness to treat Coronavirus “should the need arise,” McLeod Health on Monday set new visitation restrictions at all of its facilities, including McLeod Loris and McLeod Seacoast.

     “Visitors will be limited to no more than one guest over the age of 18,” a McLeod news release said. Children under the age of 18 cannot visit at this time. We appreciate your cooperation in helping to minimize the number of symptom-free visitors to one per patient.

     “All visitors exhibiting signs or symptoms of illness (fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose) will be asked not to visit patients at McLeod Health.”

     To learn more about the Coronavirus and precautions you should take visit McLeodHealth.org, CDC.gov, or SCDHEC.gov.

     Look for more on the local COVID-19 response as events warrant here and in the Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.