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Lehigh Valley Health Network reinstates ‘No Visits’ policy

With the health and safety of patients, staff and the community in mind, as positive cases and hospitalizations increase because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) is re-implementing its “No Visitation, No Access Policy” for its hospitals and outpatient facilities.

This includes Lehigh Valley Physician Group (LVPG) offices. The policy was implemented in the spring during the early weeks of the pandemic and later eased as cases began to decline.

The “No Visitation, No Access Policy” was to take effect for LVHN hospitals and outpatient sites as of 7 p.m. Nov. 17, according to a Nov. 5 LVHN press release.

LVHN leadership is committed to doing everything possible to ensure families of the most gravely ill patients they can visit their loved one in a safe manner.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) will be provided to these visitors to help ensure the safest possible visit.

The health network also will provide the technology to allow virtual visits for those who aren’t able to visit patients in the hospital.

In LVHN hospitals and inpatient facilities, no visitors are permitted except under these special circumstances:

• Visitation of a gravely ill patient in the ICU, including those with COVID-19

• Parent visitation of a child in a pediatric ICU or neonatal ICU

• One coach or partner per patient on labor and delivery unit

• One visitor at a time for patients in inpatient hospice unit

• One parent-guardian at a time for pediatric patients

• One visitor to accompany patients for hospital discharge

• One visitor for patients undergoing same-day surgeries and procedures

• One visitor per patient in the emergency department

• No child under age 12 is permitted to visit in the hospital

• Reasonable accommodations for pediatric visits will be made, provided any sibling visitors age 12 or above are in good health

• For outpatient appointments, one visitor is permitted to accompany a patient for an outpatient appointment, procedure, same-day surgery or LVPG office visit.

• The person accompanying a patient must be in good health and is subject to a health screening, if necessary.

LVHN officials understand the revisions to the visitation policy might present difficulties for some patients, family members and friends, and we are sympathetic to those concerns.

At the same time, we must be responsible to the communities we serve and do what is best to protect everyone. We urge those who might be impacted to please cooperate with our physicians, nurses and staff as they help us continue to fight COVID-19.

A united effort in following this policy can help us safely navigate this latest surge and hopefully assist our plans to return to normalized visitation practices as quickly as possible. The safety of our patients, visitors and staff is our No. 1 priority. People can help prevent the spread by:

• Wearing a mask in public

• Staying 6 feet apart

• Washing hands regularly

• Staying home when sick

We still have a long way to go in the fight against COVID-19. We will prevail by working together to stop the spread, stated the press release.