FAYETTEVILLE – In reflection of current local health statistics, Cape Fear Valley Health is relaxing its masking guidelines for patients, visitors and staff, effective Friday, April 7. Bladen County Hospital in Elizabethtown is part of Cape Fear Valley Health.
The health system continues to affirm that masks are an effective tool to fight the spread of respiratory illnesses and other airborne viruses, therefore surgical masks, KN-95 or N-95 masks are allowed in any area that staff, visitors or patients choose to wear one.
The health system is also adjusting the visitation guidelines for patients in Emergency Departments and ExpressCare locations. Masking and visitation policies are frequently assessed and may change again in response to local health trends in the future.
Cape Fear Valley Health will no longer routinely require masks for most patients, visitors and staff, except in the following areas/situations.
Masks are still required for:
• Respiratory Illness
Patients who have respiratory symptoms as well as the staff treating them and their visitors will be required to wear a mask. Visitors who have respiratory symptoms are encouraged to avoid visitation, but if they need to come to a Cape Fear Valley facility, they will be required to wear a mask. Masks for patients and visitors will be provided by the health system upon request. Hospital patients who require masking precautions inside their room for staff and visitors will have a sign on their door, like other isolation warnings and requirements commonly used in hospitals.
• Immunocompromised Patients and the Cancer Center
Patients who are immunocompromised, whether in the Cancer Center or throughout the facility, as well as the staff treating them, and their visitors, will be required to wear a mask. Masks for patients and visitors will be provided by the health system upon request. Patients within the hospital who require masking precautions inside their room for staff and visitors will have a sign on their door, like other isolation warnings and requirements commonly used in hospitals.
• ED Waiting Room and Triage
Patients, visitors and staff in the waiting rooms of an Emergency Department (ED) or ExpressCare, as well as those units’ triage areas, will be required to wear at least a surgical mask. Masks will no longer be required for ED or ExpressCare patients after they are placed in a room and have been assessed to not need mask precautions (patient does not present with a respiratory illness and is not immunocompromised).
• Intensive Care Unit, PICU and NICU
Masking will still be required for patients, staff and visitors in all ICUs, due to the highly vulnerable nature of these patients.
• Unvaccinated Employees
In compliance with current guidelines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), staff who have been exempted from the health system’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement and remain unvaccinated continue to be required to wear an N-95 mask or better.
Patients in an Emergency Department or ExpressCare who are 65 years old or older, or who are cognitively impaired, regardless of age, may have one visitor at a time with them in the waiting area. The visitor in this area can switch between different people, but only one at a time. Previous guidelines restricted this to only patients who required assistance due to physical or mental impairment. All other ED or ExpressCare patients may have one visitor when they are placed in a private treatment room.
There are no other changes to visitation policy at this time. The full visitation policy can be found online here: https://www.capefearvalley.com/visit.