Rising COVID activity has led to the return of visitation restrictions for hospitals in some parts of New Jersey.
Under color-coded visitation guidelines adopted across the state’s hospitals, the Southeast and Southwest regions of the state are now at level yellow. Level yellow generally allows hospitalized patients to receive just one visitor at a time, with precautions such as masking and symptom screening. However, visitors are not allowed for COVID patients or those who are immunocompromised, except under certain circumstances approved by the care team. Those circumstances include care being provided to pediatric patients or patients with an intellectual, developmental, or other cognitive disability.
New Jersey’s visitation color codes were developed by the New Jersey Hospital Association in November 2020. The visitation levels are reassessed weekly based on COVID-19 levels in the community and hospital capacity within the region. Until this month, all four of the state’s regions have been in level green, which generally allows two visitors at a time, since mid-May.
The system is designed to limit COVID spread and protect those within the hospital, while also providing uniformity for patients and their loved ones. Additional information on the color codes is available at www.njha.com/coronavirus/hospital-visitation-codes .
“The added visitation precautions are triggered by the rise in COVID cases and hospitalizations across New Jersey, attributable to the highly contagious Delta variant and individuals who are not yet vaccinated,” said NJHA President and CEO Cathy Bennett.
From mid-July to mid-August, New Jersey data shows a 7-day average increase of 271.6 percent in new cases and 168.5 percent in hospitalizations. According to the New Jersey Department of Health, the Delta variant accounts for 96 percent of cases, based on a sampling of positive tests from the last two weeks of July.
“The current trajectory of new infections shows some of the fastest spread of COVID that we have seen since the spring of 2020,” said Bennett. “The new variants are more contagious. We encourage everyone to get vaccinated to stop the spread of COVID-19 and avoid further impact to our schools and businesses, as well as our patients, visitors and healthcare professionals.”
The Southeast region includes the counties of Atlantic, Cape May, Monmouth and Ocean, while the Southwest region spans Burlington, Camden, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties. Patients and visitors are encouraged to confirm with their hospital any added visitation rules, screening or precautions in place.
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