BERLIN, Md. — Soon after Gov. Larry Hogan announced sweeping restrictions for the state of Maryland, Atlantic General Hospital announced that visitations will no longer be allowed at their facilities starting Wednesday.
These restrictions will go into effect at 6 a.m., Wednesday morning and will be in place until further notice. According to the hospital’s COVID-19 visitation policy, a 7-day positivity rate of 5% or greater requires closure to visitors, and on Tuesday the 7-day positivity rate for Worcester County was at 5.7%.
It’s important to note, exceptions will be made in special circumstances in accordance with the organization’s CARE values including: personal caregivers, parents of a minor, one accompanying family member/significant other for patients in the emergency room around the clock or dying patients.
Atlantic General’s President and CEO, Michael Franklin, tells us here at 47 ABC that he admits it’s going to be a challenge for everyone to adjust to the new change. He says in part quote, “That’s going to be a little bit of a challenge. It’s a challenge for patients, it’s a challenge for family members, and it’s a challenge for the caregivers and providers because now we have to do a lot more online and on the phone. Have more conversations and pass information along on the phone.”
But when it comes to COVID-19, the CEO says as of Tuesday morning, they only have two COVID positive patients in the hospital, including one who’s in the ICU on a ventilator. So capacity issues are not because of the pandemic. He says the capacity issues stem from “non-COVID stuff.” He says they have a lot of people out there who live in our community with a lot of people over the age of 65.
Franklin says his team is working on strategies with medical staff to treat people without having them come to the hospital. He says they will create, “guidelines for when somebody needs to be admitted to the hospital, or can they go home with the appropriate follow up with us at home with their primary care if they have the resources. Making sure they have access to proper follow up care.” Franklin adds that when whenever COVID patients are put into the hospital, then they create a risk of patients and workers contracting the virus.
Loved ones are encouraged to stay in touch with hospitalized patients by phone or video chat. Staff are available to support communication with friends and family. Franklin says the most important part about all of this is everybody’s awareness, and the community making good healthcare choices.
For more information on their visitation guidelines, you can visit www.agh.care/COVID19.