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MVHS, Oneida Health announce virus-related visitor restrictions

With some exceptions, MVHS plans to suspend all visitation in the MVHS hospitals and outpatient facilities, effective Saturday. That includes the emergency department (ED) and inpatient hospital units.

Friday will be the last day for the current visitor policy, the organization noted.

MVHS is adjusting its visitor policy because “the number of individuals testing positive for COVID-19 in Oneida County has been steadily increasing this month,” per a news release.


“We are making this change out of an abundance of caution since the way in which COVID is spreading in our community has changed,” Dr. Kent Hall, MVHS chief physician executive, said. “Prior to this, when we saw spikes in the number of COVID-positive individuals, they primarily came from residential facilities. However, today, the majority of those testing positive for COVID-19 are coming from private homes and residences — this indicates that the virus is spreading throughout our community and not just as isolated clusters. Thus, we made the decision to play our part to limit potential spread of the virus in the community by suspending visitation.”

Beginning Saturday, MVHS visitation policy prohibits visitors in inpatient hospital units, with the following exceptions.

They include patients in the ICU; patients in labor, delivery, and the remainder of the patients’ admission; pediatric patients; those for whom a support person has been determined to be essential to the care of the patient (medically necessary) including patients with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and patients with cognitive impairments including dementia.

It also includes patients in immediate end-of-life situations and patients who are being discharged. For discharged patients, visitors will wait in the lobby.

Visiting hours for those individuals who meet the exceptions criteria are 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week. Only one visitor is allowed during this time.

Oneida Health

The visitor restrictions at Oneida Health also includes people accompanying patients during outpatient visits throughout their network, the organization said.

Visitor restrictions at the hospital and extended care do include some exceptions for critically ill and end-of-life patients.

The extended care will maintain scheduled window and virtual visits for residents. Inpatient virtual visits will also be available at the hospital. Patients who are 17 and under, as well as those who are developmentally disabled, are allowed one visitor to accompany them while receiving care, including emergency room visits. Obstetrical patients will continue to be permitted one individual to participate in the birth.

“We do not take the decision to restrict visitors from seeing or accompanying their loved ones lightly,” Gene Morreale, president and CEO of Oneida Health, said. “The rising number of cases requires us to take immediate precautions to limit its impact on the health and safety of those we serve.” He noted that the restriction on visitors should only be temporary. “We will continue to work closely with New York State and the Madison County Department of Health to monitor COVID-19 trends with the goal of reinstating routine visitation as soon as it is safe to do so.”


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