UVM Medical Center Main Campus, Burlington, Wikimedia

The University of Vermont Medical Center and other hospitals in the University of Vermont Health Network will be tightening visitor access in light of a regional surge in COVID-19 cases.

BURLINGTON, Vt. – The University of Vermont Health Network announced Friday visitor access to its network of New York and Vermont hospitals would be limited amid a regional surge in COVID-19 cases.

In a statement, the hospital network said its hospitals will be closed to most visitors, with minor exceptions made for end of life care, pediatric visits, hospital discharges, procedures requiring sedation, and labor and delivery.

In those few instances where visitors are allowed, visitors are required to wear a face mask covering one’s nose and mouth at all times. Visitors will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 prior to entry.

Those who have come into close contact with someone testing positive for COVID-19 will not be allowed into UVM Health Network’s hospitals, according to the hospitals’ revised policy.

According to a UVM Health Network statement, temporary changes to the hospital network’s visitation policies were intended to “protect the health and safety of our patients and families, our staff and our community.”

Changes to visitor access will be rolled out over the next several days. Visitor access has been restricted to the network’s – and Vermont’s – largest hospital in Burlington as of Saturday.

“We know these restrictions are difficult for those receiving care and their families, but this is one of the best ways for us to protect our patients and staff and prevent the spread of COVID-19,” the hospital network’s president and chief executive officer, Dr. John Brumsted, said in a statement.

“I’d like to thank our patients and the community for doing their part,” Brumsted added.

COVID-19 cases have continued to climb within the region amid a larger national surge for the easily spread respiratory disease. In the past week, Vermont officials have reported daily totals for new cases of COVID-19 handily dwarfing early spring records.

As of Monday morning, more than 2,800 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus causing COVID-19 in Vermont since the disease was first identified in the state in March, according to Vermont’s health department.

Fifty-nine people have died in Vermont due to complications of COVID-19.

More information about UVM Health Network’s visitor policy can be found online at https://www.uvmhealth.org/coronavirus/uvmhn-welcoming-policy.

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