No visitors allowed in eastern Tennessee hospitals to stop COVID-19

Hospitals in eastern Tennessee are taking additional steps to protect patients and ensure the coronavirus does not spread inside their facilities.

As the coronavirus spreads in eastern Tennessee, several hospitals are changing their policies to protect patients and prevent the virus from contaminating the facility.

Hundreds of cases have been reported across Tennessee, and that number is expected to increase as more testing resources become available. The more people tested, the more the health system will be able to detect and report the number of cases to the Ministry of Health.

Several of the new hospital policies prohibit people from visiting patients, with exceptions for special cases. Since hospital patients may have weakened immune systems, they are at risk of catching COVID-19.

Governor Bill Lee also signed an executive order banning hospitals from performing elective surgeries, in order to free up the resources needed to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

Below are a few hospitals that have changed their policies due to the spread of the coronavirus.

Visitors are no longer admitted to the hospital until further notice.

The following special considerations will be taken into account:

  • Visiting a loved one for end-of-life care
  • A visitor essential to the care of the patient (unique communication needs, language barriers)
  • Patients coming for surgery or tests may be accompanied by a caregiver
  • Women giving birth may have a partner, doula, or caregiver (North Knoxville Medical Center and Newport Medical Center)

Hospital officials have said it will stop performing elective surgeries and work to reschedule them as soon as they can resume their performance.

Officials said the necessary procedures would continue as needed. These include any procedure that preserves life, prevents damage, or is necessary to treat a patient’s condition or illness.

RELATED: Department of Health Confirms 13th Knox County Coronavirus Case

UT medical center officials said visitors are banned in hospital, from March 21. However, they also said there would be exceptions for specific cases, including:

  • Visiting a loved one for end-of-life care
  • A visitor essential to the care of the patient (unique communication needs, language barriers)
  • Patients who come for surgery or tests may be accompanied by a caregiver.
  • Women who give birth may have a support person (partner, doula or caregiver) for the duration of their stay.
  • Babies in the NICU may have a visiting parent.

They also said authorized visitors will only be able to enter through four entrances.

  • Boling Pavilion (located next to the circle of flags) – Open 24/7
  • Hospital emergency department corridor – Open 24/7
  • Main Heart Hospital (located next to Fountain Circle) – Open Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Corridor at the intersection of Building C of the Medical Office and Medical Office Buildings A and F – Open Monday to Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

All visitors must be at least 16 years old. Anyone authorized to visit a patient will be asked about their relationship with them, as well as their travel history and symptoms they may have from the coronavirus.

RELATED: LIST: What Are Essential And Non-Essential Businesses When Ordering ‘Safer At Home’

Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center

As of March 21, the Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center will not allow visitors to enter the building. There are exceptions, however, and anyone authorized to enter the building will need to enter through the main lobby entrance on Clinch Avenue, the garage entrance at Trustees Tower, or the emergency entrance on Laurel Avenue between 10 h and 5 p.m.

Between 5 p.m. and 10 a.m., all visitors must enter through the Laurel Avenue emergency entrance. Special exceptions include:

  • Visiting a loved one for end-of-life care
  • A visitor essential to the care of the patient
  • Patients coming for surgery or tests may be accompanied by a caregiver
  • Women giving birth may have a birth partner, doula, or caregiver

RELATED: 667 Confirmed Cases of Coronavirus in Tennessee

Oak Ridge Methodist Medical Center

Visitors are not allowed to enter the property after March 21. The exceptions include:

  • Visiting a loved one for end-of-life care
  • A visitor essential to the care of the patient
  • Patients who come for surgery or tests may be accompanied by a caregiver
  • Women giving birth may have a birth partner, doula, or caregiver

Anyone authorized to enter the building must use the main hall or the entrance to the emergency department. This includes limited access from the parking lot.

Children’s Hospital of Eastern Tennessee

The hospital began to limit the Number of visitors who could visit patients at once. Since March 24, only one parent or guardian essential to the treatment of patients can visit him.

No one under the age of 16 and no one suffering from any illness may visit patients. The hospital also asks parents to notify hospital staff if patients have respiratory disease.

Patients and visitors will be asked about any health issues they may have, as well as their travel history. After 9:00 p.m., visitors will need to enter the hospital through the emergency department. Visitors will receive a colored sticker to notify staff that they have been screened and cleared to enter the building.

Authorities are also asking people to call ahead if they plan to go to the hospital for a COVID-19 test. The medical staff will welcome them with personal protective equipment before entering the building.


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