West Virginia health system again enacts no-visitor policy

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia health system is again banning visitors from its hospitals as community spread of the coronavirus increases in the region, network officials say.

Mountain Health Network announced Monday that most visitors will not be allowed in its medical centers, including at St. Mary’s in Huntington, one of the largest hospitals in the state, news outlets reported.

Essential caregivers will be allowed for patients in labor and delivery, in the pediatrics unit and in the neonatal units, officials said. Patients nearing the end of their life also will be allowed limited visitors, according to a statement from the system.

At urgent care centers and emergency rooms, only one patient will be allowed in an exam room, though a parent or guardian can accompany minors.

The policy was first enacted in March as the virus began to spread, but it was lifted in June with Mountain Health medical centers allowing restricted visitation.

As of Monday, at least 385 people had died from COVID-19 in West Virginia, with the state reporting more than 4,500 current active cases. Cabell County, the site of several of Mountain Health’s hospitals, had among the highest total case counts with 1,020, according to state data.

“As community spread increases, we must adapt our policies in order to preserve everyone’s safety,” said Dr. Hoyt Burdick, Mountain Health Network’s chief clinical officer.

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