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Coronavirus

Boone Hospital allows all patients to have visitors

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

Boone Hospital Center said Tuesday that it's allowing all patients to have at least one visitor.

Other Columbia-based health care facilities still have coronavirus-related restrictions for visitors.

Boone Hospital implemented a no visitor policy in March to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the release said.

According to the release, patients in the nursery, NICU, those in end-of-life care and others may have up to two visitors per day.

The release said all visitors must undergo a coronavirus screening, distance themselves from others and wear face masks while inside the hospital.

University of Missouri Health Care spokesman Eric Maze said MU has not made any changes to its COVID-19 policies since March 22.

According to the MU's visiting hours and guidelines, no visitors are allowed into health care facilities, clinics and outpatient locations unless it falls under certain exceptions:

  • For patients nearing end of life, allowing immediate family only on a case-by-case basis.
  • For outpatient surgeries and procedures (with sedation, patients with physical or mental health limitations) one person is allowed.
  • For clinic appointments (patients with physical or mental health limitations) one person is allowed.
  • For pediatric and NICU patients one person is allowed with exceptions for critical/end of life situations as well as if a patient is on an extended stay.
  • In obstetrics one person is allowed. 
  • Professional visitors -- meaning federal, state or local authorities -- and regulators or those with legal authority. 

University Hospital, Ellis Fischel Cancer Center and Missouri Psychiatric Center have also limited their number of entrances.

The public can enter Women’s and Children’s Hospital through its main lobby entrance.

Jeff Hoelscher, a spokesman for Truman Memorial Veterans' Hospital, said the hospital's policies require everyone to wear a face covering of some kind and undergo health screenings upon arrival.

Hoelscher said Truman VA is also restricting access to minors, so only adults are able to enter the facilities. There are some exceptions on a case by case basis.

Truman VA prefers patients contact the hospital before going to any of its locations. Hoelscher said the hospital has been able to provide most of its care at home by phone or video.

Dave Dillon, a spokesman for the Missouri Hospital Association, said they are rolling out a set of resources that hospitals can use to inform the public about what their individual hospital policies are later this week.

Dillion said the guidance from the federal and state levels has not changed, but hospitals have leeway within that guidance to open in a broader way as they accept more patients for non-COVID-19 care. 

Dillion said it makes sense to modify some of the policies that are currently in place, but that what the new normal looks like is different for each hospital.

“It’s not just individuals who might be visiting a patient that has suffered from COVID but anyone who enters,” Dillion said. “They're going to see a very different environment than they have historically seen. And we ask… visitors and patients and their families to be patient with us because we're trying to do what's in the best interest of the community.”

Dillon believes that hospitals' visitation policies are entirely local decisions, as it depends on the hospital's resources, the patients that are being served there and what COVID-19 numbers are like in that community.

Dillion said hospitals need to continue reinforcing that there is a change from normal and that individual hospitals should communicate with patients about what they should expect upon arrival.

“It would be hard for me to believe that in any time soon we will go to the standard you can walk in the front door and go directly to a patient room, just because of what's involved in ensuring that not only that that individual isn't carrying the virus, but how do we protect that health care resource,” Dillon said.

Dillion said the reopening of hospitals will be a slow adjustment to normal again.

Boone / Columbia / Columbia Video / Health / Health / Missouri / News / Top Stories / Video
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Amber Tabeling

Amber joined the ABC 17 News team as a multimedia journalist in December 2019. She was a student-athlete at Parkland College and Missouri Valley College. She hails from a small town in Illinois.

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