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Tanner News

Tanner To Ease COVID-19 Hospital Visitor Restrictions

With vaccination becoming more widely available and the number of suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases hospitalized trending downward, Tanner Health System is revisiting its visitor policies implemented last year.

Beginning Wednesday, May 19, Tanner’s hospitals in Carrollton, Villa Rica, Bremen and Wedowee will allow patients two adult visitors at a time. Visitors should be patients’ immediate family members or caregivers, must remain in the patient’s room and must wear a mask and practice social distancing in the hospitals’ common areas.Visitor Screening Station at Tanner Carrollton

Surgical patients and emergency department patients also will be allowed two visitors at a time, though masks and social distancing requirements remain. Labor and delivery patients may have two visitors for the duration of the patient’s labor.

The hospitals will also continue their special-cause and compassionate visitation processes.

Visitors will still be screened as they enter the facilities for exposure history, fever and to ensure they have a mask. Visitors must check out at a screening station as they leave.

The health system has historically enforced more strident visitor policies to stop the spread of disease among patients and the community — typically during active flu seasons.

Last March, the health system enacted policies in regard to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to limit exposure to visitors and mitigate the risk of the virus being carried out of the hospital and spread to the community.

“It’s amazing how far we’ve come in just a little more than a year in understanding and fighting this virus,” said Missie Robertson, RN, vice president of institutional performance for Tanner. “We’re going to keep monitoring how active the virus is in our community, follow the advice of the CDC and make adjustments as necessary to keep our patients, visitors and staff safe.”

Visitor restriction sign at TannerAs of May 17, the health system’s census accounted for only six positive COVID-19 patients system-wide — five at Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton, one at Tanner Medical Center/Villa Rica and none at Higgins General Hospital in Bremen, Tanner Medical Center/East Alabama in Wedowee or Willowbrooke at Tanner’s inpatient unit in Villa Rica.

“Family involvement leads to better patient care,” said Robertson. “These restrictions have been challenging for us as caregivers as well as for our patients’ loved ones. We’re glad we’re able to begin this easing process — but we can only do it if we all keep doing our part to stop the virus’ spread, and that includes wearing masks around unvaccinated people, social distancing, practicing good hand hygiene and getting vaccinated.”

More information on Tanner’s visitor policies can be found here.