MACON, Georgia (KBTV) – Face masks are no longer required in most clinical spaces at Atrium Health Navicent beginning at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, March 28, 2023.
The decision resulted from the widespread availability of protective vaccines, a steady decline in COVID-19 positive cases and hospitalizations across the Southeast U.S. and community habits returning to pre-pandemic levels. There are still areas and circumstances where masking will be required. These may include units where cancer patients and others with low immunity are being treated, as well as emergency department waiting rooms and triage areas. It may also include rooms where highly infectious patients with a respiratory virus, such as COVID-19, are being cared for or any area or unit with an identified cluster of illness.
Patients who are experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness such as flu, RSV or COVID-19, or had a known exposure to someone with COVID-19 in the past 10 days, should wear a well-fitted mask that covers their nose and mouth. Visitors who are experiencing symptoms are asked to stay home. Patients and visitors at Atrium Health Navicent facilities may be asked to wear a mask at any time, based on the type of symptoms being experienced by the patient or circumstances specific to their patient population or practice at any given location.
Patients may also request their direct care team wear a mask if it makes them feel more comfortable.
Atrium Health Navicent’s visitation policy is used to protect patients, visitors and caregivers, and is subject to change at any time. Visitors include those who are visiting/accompanying patients.
Guidelines are as follows:
- Visitation hours will be held 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
- General inpatient units at Atrium Health Navicent hospitals may have four (4) visitors daily. One (1) adult
visitor/caregiver over the age of 18 years of age may stay with the patient from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. See special
considerations for COVID-19 patient visitation.
- Intensive care units at Atrium Health Navicent hospitals may have two (2) visitors/caregivers at the bedside at a
time. One (1) visitor may stay overnight.
- Visitors must:
o Be screened at the front entrance of the hospital.
o Be in good health (free of respiratory illness, fever cough, etc.)
o Follow safety guidance. This includes wearing masks — if warranted — staying six feet from others and
performing frequent hand washing. Visitors may choose to wear additional Personal Protective
Equipment (PPE), which will be made available upon request.
- Patients having surgery may have visitors with them until they are in their patient room, even if they arrive before
8 a.m. Patients under 18 may have two (2) parents or guardians visit any time of day.
- Patients at Atrium Health Navicent Rehabilitation Hospital may have no more than four (4) visitors at a time and
visiting hours are 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday.
- Patients in Labor and Delivery (active labor before delivery) may have two (2) visitors in addition to a partner and
- Patients receiving treatments for cancer are often immunocompromised and more vulnerable to infection. In this case, patients will not be allowed visitors if they are exhibiting symptoms of respiratory illness or have COVID-19 or might have COVID-19 (being tested).
- Special Considerations:
- Masking will be required in emergency department waiting and triage areas.
- Special circumstances will be managed by the treating physician and nursing unit leadership.
- Patients in hospice or palliative care may have two (2) visitors at a time at the bedside and one (1) visitor
- Exceptions, as determined by the treating physician and facility leadership, may include:
o End of life circumstances
o Communication barriers
o Caregiver / decision making assistance needed
o Physical, emotional, or psychiatric concerns where a caregiver is necessary
Patients exhibiting symptoms of respiratory illness including influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, and COVID-19 may have visitors. Visitors must wear a mask and may wear other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including a gown, gloves, and eye protection, which will be provided upon request. The visitor must stay in the patient’s room at all times with the door closed and will utilize a designated restroom based on the patient’s location. Visitors are urged to eat prior to arrival, but to remain at least six (6) feet away from the patient before removing a mask to eat. At the conclusion of the visit, visitors must exit the facility without visiting any other location.
- Overnight visitors must stay at the patient’s bedside. If a patient needs an in-room procedure that requires the visitor to leave the room, the visitor may wait in the hallway outside the patient’s room.
- Some intensive care units lack the capacity for overnight visitors. In these units, overnight visitors are at the discretion of unit leadership.
- Some visitors arrive with patients via entrances other than the main visitor entrance (ex. surgery, emergency and heart procedures). In the event a patient who entered through any entrance other than the main visitor entrance is admitted and the visitor chooses to stay overnight, the visitor must check-in at the main entrance and receive a visitor band during visiting hours (8 a.m. to 10 p.m.). If the patient is admitted after visiting hours, the visitor may stay overnight and check-in at the main entrance during the next day’s visiting hours.
This visitation policy applies to Atrium Health Navicent locations, including:
- Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital
- Atrium Health Navicent The Medical Center
- Atrium Health Navicent Peach
- Atrium Heath Navicent Baldwin
- Monroe County Hospital, an Atrium Health Navicent Partner
- Atrium Health Navicent Rehabilitation Hospital
- Atrium Health Navicent emergency rooms, urgent care centers, clinics and diagnostics centers
All facilities may be accessed through their main lobbies and/or emergency centers. Individuals with cough, fever, shortness of breath or other flu-like symptoms are asked to refrain from visiting. Greeters at public entrances will continue to ask basic screening questions, guide those seeking treatment to the appropriate location and assist visitors as needed.
Masking has been an effective measure for the last three years to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and help keep our communities healthy. Masks will still be available at Atrium Health Navicent facilities for anyone who chooses to wear one.