University McDuffie Hospital has not restricted visitors, other than a few exceptions.

Bob Kepshire, Administrator and Chief Nursing Officer at University Hospital McDuffie, informed the Progress Thursday via email that no patient visitation will be allowed, except in three specific circumstances effective at 5 a.m. Friday, March 27.

“Due to concerns for the community spread of the COVID-19 virus we, along with the our sister University Health Care System hospitals in Augusta, are implementing a no visitor policy for all patients (including inpatients, rehab patients, outpatients and emergency patients),” Kepshire said.

He listed the following as the only exceptions: One responsible adult may accompany an outpatient or emergency patient who is under 18 years old; one responsible adult may accompany an outpatient or emergency patient that may not have the ability to communicate; special consideration will be given in the event a patient is near death.

“This means that if one of the above exceptions does not exist then the following arrangements must be made,” he said. “If bringing a significant other to the emergency department, the lab, the x-ray department, or therapy the person bringing the patient will need to wait in their car or return home until they are called to pick up the patient.

“If bringing the patient to the hospital for a surgical procedure, they may wait in their car or return home until they are called to pick up the patient,” the hospital administrator continued. “Also the surgeon may call with additional information about the patient.”

Kepshire said patients, and any authorized visitors would not be permitted to bring items such as pillows, blankets, food, drinks, newspapers or magazines into the hospital. In addition, items like flowers or food for patients will not be permitted to be delivered to patients.  

Further information can be found on the University Hospital McDuffie and the University Health Care System websites.

If residents are concerned they might be experiencing possible symptoms of COVID-19 – the coronavirus – they should call their primary care provider.

Citizens can also call a COVID-19 Triage line at 706-828-2477. It is staffed Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.

"If anyone has N95 masks that they would like to donate to the will be greatly appreciated.  N95 masks are in short supply and it is taking some time to receive them," said Kepshire.

To keep up with the latest on the pandemic, residents can also visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) websites.

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