Published on November 23, 2020

Hospital Encourages Precautions During Holidays

Nash UNC Health Care is encouraging safety precautions for families who gather around holidays this year.

“With the upcoming holidays, we would like to remind the community of the importance of wearing a mask and following the CDC recommendations for holiday gatherings,” said Dr. L. Lee Isley, president and CEO of Nash UNC Health Care.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points to recent studies that have shown facemasks successfully limit the spread of COVID-19.

“Masking up is not only necessary to protect you, but also others around you,” said Isley.

In addition to masking, the CDC suggests that everyone minimize the number of non-household contacts, maintain a physical distance of at least six feet, and limit the amount of time around others, especially while indoors and in poorly ventilated areas.

“As cases continue to increase rapidly across the United States and in our community, state and local health departments, along with the CDC, state that the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate at home with the people you live with.  If you are choosing to gather with your family this Thanksgiving, the CDC offers many ways to help make the environment safe for everyone, which include limiting the amount of people you gather with, wearing masks, social distancing, and celebrating in an outdoor setting if you can. These are just a few of the ways to spend Thanksgiving with your loved ones while also being safe,” said Isley.

If choosing to celebrate indoors, the CDC recommends opening windows to allow fresh air inside and disinfecting frequently touched areas often, in addition to the previous recommendations.  

Hospital Visitation Accommodations for Thanksgiving

Nash UNC Health Care is also revising their visitation policy to allow hospitalized patients to have two designated visitors over the Thanksgiving Holiday (Thursday, November 26th and Friday, November 27th ), as opposed to the normal one designated visitor.

Under the new visitation guidelines, only one visitor will be permitted at a time to ensure social distancing is maintained in the patient’s room, for both the safety of the patient and the visitor.  The two designated visitors a patient selects can switch out as needed throughout their stay on these two days, and will be monitored with a check-in/check-out process at the front desk.  Exceptions will continue to be granted for extenuating circumstances such as end of life or other special needs determined by the clinical care team. 

“No one wants to be in the hospital, especially on a holiday and during this pandemic. After receiving feedback from our patients, families and staff, the Nash UNC COVID Task Force developed a plan to revise our visitation process to safely improve patient access to additional visitors over the Thanksgiving holiday,” said Isley.

“While COVID-19 is still affecting our ability to allow normal visitation while keeping our patients, staff and visitors safe at the same time, we believe this special accommodation for the holiday will help our patients during their healing process” said Isley.  

All visitors will be required to follow all safety policies, including a touch-less temperature check and health screening upon entrance, wearing a mask for the duration of their visit, and following proper infection prevention practices such as frequent hand washing. 

This temporary holiday policy will only be applied to hospitalized patients in the Nash General Hospital units, Critical Care, Cardiac Observation Unit and Women’s Center.  The Emergency Department, Bryant T. Aldridge Rehabilitation Center, Coastal Plain Hospital and Outpatient Areas will maintain their current visitation policies—allowing only 1 designated, screened visitor with the exception of pediatric patients, who are allowed 2 designated, screened visitors. Patients receiving treatment for COVID-19 will not be allowed visitors for the safety of the patient, visitor and community, except in extenuating circumstances.

“As we continue our work to balance patient experience with safety, we will continue to monitor our COVID census, guidance from the CDC, and will alter our approach as needed,” said Isley.

As of Monday, November 23rd morning, the hospital had 21 COVID positive patients in house (5 critical care / 16 medically-stable).