Citrus County Hospitals - Citrus Memorial and Seven Rivers

Citrus Memorial Hospital in Inverness is on the left. Bayfront Health Seven Rivers Regional Medical Center in Crystal River is on the right

Citrus Memorial Hospital and Bayfront Health Seven Rivers are again implementing stricter visitation rules as the number of infected by the coronavirus spikes.

The moves came less than three weeks after the hospitals loosened their visiting policy in their estimation that the infection rate had subsided and it was again safe to let patient visitors into their doors.  

Hospital officials said they were implementing their previous stringent visitation policy beginning Wednesday, July 1, 2020.

Both hospitals on June 12 loosened their visitation policies after two months of closing their doors to most patient visitors, except a restricted few in cases of labor and delivery, post-partum, and end of life.

The 204-bed CMH in Inverness and the 128-bed Bayfront Health Seven Rivers in Crystal River announced Tuesday they are again tightening their visitation rules

“We’re starting to see a spike in cases in the state and locally,” said Katie Myers, spokeswoman for CMH.

Visitors who are allowed into CMH will be screened for flu-like symptoms and asked questions about their health. They will also be required to practice hand sanitization when entering the hospital and entering and leaving a patient’s room.

The new CMH visitation rules are as follows:

Inpatient units: No visitors are permitted. Exceptions must be approved by the hospital administration. Exception can be made for end-of-life situations.

Labor and delivery: one visitor is allowed

Post-partum: two visitors are allowed and may stay overnight

Emergency Room: one visitor is allowed per patient in the ER. Once a patient is admitted to the hospital, the visitor must leave as visitors are not allowed in inpatient areas.

Outpatient procedures: One visitor is allowed per patient who is having an outpatient surgery or other outpatient procedure requiring sedation. The visitor must remain in the designated waiting area. If the patient is admitted as an inpatient, the visitor must leave as visitors are not allowed in inpatient areas.

Anyone under the age of 18 will not be considered for visitation unless they are the parent of a hospitalized child.

All persons authorized to enter the hospital must wear a mask at all times

Patients are encouraged to consider using phone, Skype, or FaceTime to communicate with family and friends during this time.

Bayfront Health Seven Rivers spokeswoman Jennifer Siem said the new visitation rules are a result of trying to keep patients safe.

“Our patient care philosophy depends greatly on engaging families to be part of the healing process. However, as (COVID-19) cases in the community and state increase, we must take extra steps to protect our patients, employees, physicians and the community,” Siem said.

Effective July 1, 2020, these will be Bayfront Health Seven Rivers’ visitation rules:

—One parent, guardian or caregiver for patients under the age of 18.

—One caregiver or partner of patients utilizing the Emergency Department.

—One caregiver or support person for outpatient services. The person will be asked to wait in a designated area.

—One birthing or care partner for obstetric patients.

—One coach for Bone and Joint Center patients.

—Visitors will be allowed during end-of-life situations.

Everyone entering the hospital will be screened for COVID-19 and is required to wear a face mask, Siem said. No visitors under the age of 18, except under extraordinary circumstances or if they are the parent of a minor patient).

“We are committed to providing our community with quality medical services,” Siem said in a media release. “You can count on us to maintain a safe environment of care in these unprecedented times.”

“If family and friends would like to drop off a card, gift or message of encouragement, we are happy to deliver those to patients,” she said. “They may also call a patient’s room or visit patients using Facetime or another video communication app.”

Oak Hill Hospital is also implementing a stricter visitor policy as a result of the increase in the community spread of COVID-19 in Hernando County.  The 350-bed hospital also serves patients from northern Citrus County.

“No visitors will be permitted for admitted inpatients to help ensure the safety of our patients and caregivers (with) limited exceptions noted below,” said that hospital’s spokeswoman Katie Stacy. The policy is as follows:

Inpatient Units: No visitors are allowed. Exceptions must be approved by the hospital administration. Exceptions include end-of-life situations.

Labor and delivery: one visitor is allowed

Post-partum unit, neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), and pediatrics unit: one visitor is allowed and may stay overnight

Behavioral health units: a patient’s attorney of record, a state of federal representative on official duty, and end-of-life situation visitors are allowed

 Other visitation rules are the same as those for CMH.

Contact Chronicle reporter Fred Hiers at fred.hiers@chronicleonline.com or 352-397-5914.