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Hospitals in Ohio Further Limit Visitors During Pandemic

Cleveland-area hospitals are further restricting visitor policies, effective immediately, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

by Betty Lin-Fisher, Akron Beacon Journal / March 20, 2020
Summa Akron City Hospital. TNS

(TNS) -- Area hospitals are further restricting visitor policies, effective immediately, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Effective immediately, both Cleveland Clinic Akron General and Summa Health have moved to a no-visitor policy, with some exceptions. A spokeswoman for Akron Children's Hospital said hospital leaders are meeting this morning to see if further changes will be made. Earlier this week, the hospital said the same two visitors must visit during the patient's stay.

Here are the most up-to-date hospital policies. They are changing frequently, so check with the hospital before going.

Akron Children's Hospital

Akron Children's is allowing only two visitors per day per patient. New on March 18, the hospital strengthened its policy, saying it must be the same two visitors for the patient's entire stay and a wristband would be issued.

Also, no siblings or children under 18 will be permitted, and officials ask people to not visit if you are sick. The hospital encourages parents not to bring siblings to primary care and outpatient appointments.

Hospital campuses in Akron and Boardman are limiting entry points and will be screening visitors for illness, travel history and COVID-19 exposure. Large, heated tents at Akron Children's emergency departments in Akron and Boardman will be going up to expand capacity if needed.

Cleveland Clinic Akron General

Cleveland Clinic at all of its campuses in Ohio is also not allowing visitors, with some exceptions.

Those exceptions are:

• Pediatric patients (1 visitor)

• Labor & Delivery patients (1 visitor)

• End of life circumstances (patient's care team will discuss with their family)

All other visitors will be asked to leave the hospital. "As we continue to navigate the best ways to contain the spread of COVID-19, we understand these changes are difficult and appreciate your patience and understanding," the Clinic said in a statement.

Additionally, our caregivers will now undergo a thermal temperature scan each day when arriving to work at all patient care locations.

These restrictions are being put in place to help protect our patients, caregivers and community.

The hospital has narrowed its volunteer force to those younger than 60, because people 60 and older are one of the highest risk groups for serious illness with COVID-19. The Doggie Brigade also is being temporarily suspended.

Summa Health

Summa has moved to a no visitors policy. Exceptions will be made for one healthy visitor per patient, per day for the following categories:

• Patient who is in serious or critical condition or under hospice care

• End-of-life (approval for requests for more than one person will be made by nurse manager)

• Patient in the Emergency Department

• Mothers in labor (significant other is permitted)

• Children who are 18 years of age or under (parents permitted)

• People undergoing surgery

• Akron Children's NICU (limited to mom and one additional visitor per day)

• Adult patients with cognitive or mental disability requiring help with the provision of medical care or activities of daily living, speaking for the patient, keeping patient safe

• People who must exercise a power of attorney or court-appointed guardianship for a patient

• People performing official governmental functions

• Person requiring an outpatient test or procedure where a companion is required for support

Those visitors must report to the main entrances of the hospital. Additional exceptions must be approved by the hospital's administrator on call. Contact the Call Center Help Line at 330-319-9453 with any questions about visitation restrictions.

Friends and family of patients who meet these exceptions will not be allowed to visit if they have a cough, fever or respiratory symptoms or if they have been exposed to COVID-19. Prior to being allowed hospital access, those limited visitors will have their temperature taken. Those who have a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or greater will be denied access.

Patients who develop symptoms should call their doctors or the emergency room before being seen, so they can take precautions to prevent exposure to other individuals.

Beacon Journal consumer columnist and medical reporter Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or blinfisher@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow her @blinfisherABJ on Twitter or www.facebook.com/BettyLinFisherABJ and see all her stories at www.beaconjournal.com/topics/linfisher

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