SOMERS POINT, NJ — Shore Medical Center will return to a “no visitor” policy because of a rise in coronavirus cases in its hospital community and South Jersey. The hospital implemented a similar ban in March but reduced restrictions as cases decreased.
The policy begins at 6 a.m. Wednesday and will run until further notice, with the following exceptions:
patients in hospice of end-of-life care
one visitor or support person for maternity
one visitor or support person for pediatric patients
Visitors must get screened for symptoms.
“At Shore, we know how important it is to have your loved ones by your side during your hospital stay,” said the hospital’s announcement. “Please know that our staff will continue to care for you like you are a member of their own family, and will do everything possible to make sure your loved ones have a means of regular communication during your stay.”
Shore first implemented “no visitor” restrictions mid-March. At the time, officials had not confirmed any coronavirus cases in Cape May or Atlantic Counties. But hospitals across the Garden State made preparations for the coronavirus outbreak. Read more: Shore Medical Center Bans Visitors During NJ Coronavirus Outbreak
The hospital loosened restrictions in June, allowing patients to have one “Visiting Support Person” at a time. Children could have both parents or guardians visit. But visitation was still prohibited for patients suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 except for end-0f-life or critical situations.
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Shore had seven coronavirus inpatients Monday, according to a hospital spokesperson.
The state publicly releases hospital data in three “regions”: north, central and south Jersey. South Jersey hospitals have 158 coronavirus inpatients. Officials reported 913 coronavirus inpatients April 30 in South Jersey, which steadily declined to 95 Sept. 20. But hospitalization totals rose afterward to 187 Saturday before reducing to 158 Monday.
Some Jersey Shore hospitals have reported low hospitalizations despite a recent spike in cases. Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin reported only one active coronavirus inpatient Oct. 6, despite Ocean County leading recent daily totals for new coronavirus cases.
Ocean County health officials said several factors contributed, such as greater knowledge of the virus, more effective treatments and more mild to moderate cases in the area, according to a county health department spokesperson. Read more: Coronavirus Hospitalizations Low At Southern Ocean Medical Center
The Cape May County Health Department reported 19 active cases, 94 people cleared off quarantine and three deaths in Ocean City as of Wednesday morning.
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This article originally appeared on the Ocean City Patch