Carilion Clinic reopens NICU to restricted visitation


ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — After treating 105 patients who tested positive for coronavirus — three of whom are currently hospitalized — Carilion Clinic announced Monday morning Carilion’s NICU will reopen under a restricted visitation policy.

“A baby’s connection to loved ones is vitally important,” says Dr. Kimberly Dunsmore, chair of Carilion Children’s. “Our NICU providers have been working round the clock to reestablish visitation in a way that is safe for our patients and care teams.”

According to this limited visitation policy — which is effective as of 11 a.m. on Monday, April 20 –patients will have two designated visitors (parents or legal guardians), but only one visitor per patient will be allowed per visit.

In addition, hospital officials say families will be assigned even or odd calendar days to visit during limited visitation hours, which are from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. or 8 p.m. to midnight. While visitors are allowed to stay as long as want during visitation hours, their visit is over for the day as soon as they leave the floor, according to Carilion.

“We are constantly evaluating the situation, which is evolving daily,” says Dr. Dunsmore. “While this system is more complex than our typical visitation guidelines, it is designed in a way that allows us to practice social distancing and minimize person-to-person contact on the unit.”

All staff and visitors will undergo a NICU-specific screening process before they can enter the unit, which reportedly involves both a COVID-19 questionnaire and temperature check. While inside the unit, Carilion says staff and visitors are required to wear PPE.

“I know this has been a difficult journey for our families, and I so appreciate their patience, flexibility and resiliency during this time,” says Dr. Dunsmore. ” We’re all working together toward the same goal – protecting our babies and patients.”

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