LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — As the number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continues to surge around the Commonwealth, Centra Health announced new hospital visitation guidelines that will go into effect on Thursday.

As most of you are aware, we are experiencing an increase in our COVID inpatient census. To put this into perspective, we have seen a steady increase in hospitalizations in the last several weeks and the current testing positivity rate is on the rise. This is also consistent with the amount of community spread the Virginia Department of Health is witnessing in our service areas.

With these increases, unfortunately, comes change. We understand the importance visitation has on both our patients and their families; however, the safety of our patients and Caregivers remain our top priority. After significant consideration, Centra will be amending our current visitation restrictions.

Statement released by Centra Health on Jan. 4, 2022

As of Thursday, Jan. 6, Centra Health says only one visitor will be allowed at a time in inpatient spaces for adult patients at all Centra hospitals. However, this one visitor may change out during the patient’s hospital stay.

According to a statement released by Centra on Tuesday, Jan. 4, visitors need to abide by the following requirements:

  • Must not have COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath
  • Will be screened each time they enter hospital facilities
  • Must wear a mask while in any Centra building
  • Will be expected to comply with CDC guidance in place at the time of the visit

Health officials say that neither professional doulas — who are recognized members of the care team — nor clergy members will not be included in the visitor count.

In addition, Centra says the following updates will go into effect:

  • Visitors must be 16 years of age and older.
  • Visitation time will shift to 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. for all Centra hospitals.

This guidance may be adjusted by Centra under special circumstances and for the unique needs of patients and caregivers, according to health officials.

Before arriving at a Centra hospital, you are encouraged to follow this link to check the most up to date visitation guidelines.

Centra officials say they will continue to monitor this policy and will adapt it as necessary to protect the safety of caregivers and patients.