Nash UNC Revises Visitor Restrictions for the Emergency Department Due to Increase in COVID Patient Volume

Nash UNC Health Care’s COVID Task Force has implemented updates to visitor restrictions for the Emergency Department to help maintain a safe environment for staff, patients, and visitors in response to a significant rise in COVID-19 cases in the community.

Effective immediately, the following Emergency Department visitation restrictions will be in place until further notice:

  • Visitors will not be permitted for adult patients in the emergency department (including behavioral health patients), except during extenuating circumstances as determined by the clinical care team. 
  • Pediatric emergency department patients will be limited to one designated visitor.
  • Visitation for Emergency Department adult patients with respiratory symptoms (both COVID suspected and confirmed) will continue to not be permitted.

The changes are due to rapid COVID-19 spread in the community and increased volume of patients in the Emergency Department. The COVID Task Force will continue to monitor local COVID community spread metrics and determine if any additional changes to the visitation policy are needed.

Where to Seek Care for COVID Testing and Minor Medical Concerns

In addition to announcing the visitation change, the hospital issued several reminders to the community about where to seek care for medical needs, including COVID testing.  

“We have seen a significant influx of people coming to the Emergency Department just to be tested for COVID-19, but not seeking medical care,” said Meredith Denton, Emergency Department director at Nash UNC Health Care.  “This strains our limited resources which need to be focused on providing emergency medical care to those who need it most.  In addition, it’s important for people to understand that seeking care at the Emergency Department requires a full registration and medical evaluation, which results in Emergency Department and medical provider charges.”

“We’d like to remind the community of the variety of free and/or low-cost COVID testing locations available in the community, listed online at the NC DHHS COVID Testing Locator,” she said. 

Denton also provided a summary the best locations to seek care for common medical concerns. 

COVID Testing

-          NC DHHS COVID Testing Locator – Type in your zip code to find locations nearest you.

-          NC DHHS has also partnered with LabCorp to offer free at-home COVID testing kits

Primary Care or Urgent Care – Minor Injury and Illness

-          Eye or ear infection

-          Sprain or strain

-          Allergic reaction

-          Cold, cough, flu, fever

-          Minor burn, cut

-          Minor asthma attack or bronchitis

-          Nausea, migraine

-          Dehydration

Emergency Department – Life-Threatening Injury and Illness

-          Chest pain or heart attack

-          Stroke

-          Broken bone or deep wound

-          Constant vomiting

-          Severe and prolonged shortness of breath

-          Allergic reaction to food or insect bite

-          Head injury and/or unconsciousness

-          Heavy, uncontrolled bleeding

-          Seizure


COVID Vaccination

Nash UNC’s COVID Walk-In Vaccine Clinic is open Monday-Friday 8 am – 4 pm (and Thursday until 6 pm), offering booster shots for all & pediatric vaccines (ages 5 and up).  NOTE: the clinic will be closed on December 31st.  Though no appointment is necessary, if you have questions or would like to make an appointment for a specific time, schedule a homebound visit or coordinate a community vaccine event, call Nash UNC's Community Vaccination Line at (252) 962-8624 or schedule online at For answers to frequently asked questions, please visit Remember, vaccines are free and do not require insurance or a photo ID.