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FAYETTEVILLE – Sept. 22, 2023 – Due to an increase in COVID cases, Cape Fear Valley Medical Center is updating its visitation policy with one change in the Children’s Emergency Department. As of Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, only one parent or guardian will be allowed in the waiting room with pediatric patients in the Emergency Department. The previous limit was two parents/guardians. Once a child is placed in a room, they can have two parents/guardians with them.

“We have seen a slight uptick in COVID cases, and this is to help ease crowding issues in our Children’s Emergency Department waiting room,” said Vice President of Emergency Management and Engineering Brian Pearce.

The number of COVID cases in the Children’s Emergency Department had stayed between zero to two per day for more than a month, until the end of August. Between Aug. 27 and Sept. 2, there were 12 cases seen in the Children’s Emergency Department. The week of Sept. 3-9, that number climbed to 51, and there were 45 in the week of Sept. 10-16. System wide, there have been about 260 positive COVID tests for adults and pediatrics each week since Sept. 3. There are currently 25 inpatient COVID patients in the health system.

Below are the rest of Cape Fear Valley Health’s current visitation policies, which are unchanged at this time:

All areas of the health system are open to visitors aged 12 and over who are with a parent or guardian, with the exception of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. No visitors or patients will be required to wear a mask, unless they have respiratory symptoms or are in the Emergency Department waiting room. Any patients, visitors or employees who wish to wear a mask may do so.

Patients are allowed up to two visitors at a time, between the hours of 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and visitors may come and go during those hours. All patients are allowed to have one visitor stay overnight in their room if space allows, but overnight visitors must be in the hospital before visiting hours close, and cannot leave and return after 8 p.m., until visiting hours reopen the next day. Visitors to patients who are under any isolation protocols must follow any restrictions required for that patient.

In the Emergency Department, visitors will not be allowed in the waiting room unless the patient is 65 years old or older, or is cognitively impaired, regardless of age. Those patients may have one visitor with them at a time in the waiting room or triage. For other patients, one visitor will be allowed once the patient has been given a room. Visitors to patients in the Emergency Department will be allowed to leave and return.

The following exceptions and specifications are noted with this visitation policy:

  • Labor and Delivery: Laboring mothers may have up to three designated support people, and those people cannot switch with other people during labor and delivery. Support people must be 16 years old or older.
  • Pediatric patients/Pediatric Intensive Care Unit: Parents/legal guardians may visit at any time. Only parents/legal guardians may add visitors to the list for pediatric patients. Visitors under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult unless they are the patient’s parent.
  • In the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, two banded visitors and four other designated visitors are allowed, and they must have their names identified at the secretary desk. They can visit at any time, but only two visitors are allowed at the bedside at any one time. These visitors may come and go. There is no space to allow for overnight stays. Siblings can visit on Saturday and Sunday from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.; but must be older than 5 years old and without any signs of illness.
  • Patients who need a healthcare decision maker or require communication assistance may have one Care Companion with them at all times. The Care Companion may be changed during visiting hours.
  • End of Life patients may have up to four visitors at a time present at bedside. These visitors may be changed out during the End of Life visit. In certain circumstances, the nursing supervisor may allow for compassionate exceptions to this rule for End of Life patients.

Even in the above situations, visitors with symptoms of a fever or respiratory illness symptoms, including cough or shortness of breath, should remain home.

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