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Area hospitals work together to limit visitation from children

Out of concern for the health and wellbeing of the community, and due to the widespread prevalence of respiratory viruses such as RSV and flu among young children, several North Carolina health systems ask that children 12 and under not visit patients who are hospitalized. 


These restrictions became effective Wednesday, Nov. 16, at 7 a.m., and apply to hospitals in North Carolina that are part of the following health systems:

— Atrium Health.

— Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist.

— CaroMont Health.

— Cone Health.

— Novant Health.

— Randolph Health.


Masks are still required for visitors. Individuals aged 13 years and over who are experiencing flu-like symptoms such as runny nose, sore throat, fever or cough should not visit patients being treated at area hospitals. 


However, people who are seeking treatment at hospitals are not subject to the restriction. Children may be permitted to visit hospitalized patients under special circumstances, such as visiting a dying family member. In these instances, parents should work with their care team to make arrangements.  


Area health systems also remind the community to continue taking measures that are known to limit the spread of respiratory viruses. Health officials strongly encourage people to stay home when sick, maintain good respiratory etiquette such as hand washing and covering the nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing, and most importantly, get vaccinated against flu and COVID-19 — including the latest COVID-19 fall boosters — to best protect against illness heading into the holiday season.


In addition to protecting against infection, both the flu and COVID-19 vaccines can protect against the downstream effects of those infections such as heart attack and stroke. People who are at high-risk for complications — particularly those with diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart and lung problems — are more likely to experience a heart attack or stroke in the weeks following a flu or COVID-19 infection.


As always, patients are asked to only visit the emergency department if they are experiencing a serious or life-threatening illness or injury. Those who need medical attention for more routine cough, fever, fatigue and other flu-like symptoms should contact their primary care provider. Other options include urgent care centers and virtual visits that are offered by each of the health systems.


It is important to note that some hospitals and health systems may have additional restrictions on visitors in certain areas. For example, Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Brenner Children’s Hospital does not permit visitors under the age of 18, except in special situations.


Here are other Randolph Health specific guidelines:

— In an effort to maintain a safe environment for staff and patients, the Visitor Entrance is closed on weekends. Weekend visitors need to enter the facility through the Emergency Department. The Visitor Entrance is open Monday-Friday from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. for all visitors.

— Visitors will be screened upon entering the facility using a 3-question symptomatic assessment for COVID-19 symptoms. If visitor COVID-19 screening is negative, they will be allowed to enter. If COVID-19 screening is positive, visitor will be encouraged to see their Primary Care physician.

— Inpatients and Emergency Department patients can have unlimited visitors each day. The only exception is ICU patients are only permitted to have TWO.

— COVID-19 patients are permitted to have TWO visitors from 4-8 p.m.

— Maternity patients are permitted to have THREE adult visitors during active labor. Once labor is completed, maternity patients can have unlimited visitors.

— If a patient or family member feels their visitation rights have been violated, they may contact:

- Department leadership on their loved one’s unit.

- Patient Experience, 336-328-3456.

- The Department of Health and Human Services at 1-800-624-3004.

- The CMS Region 4 office ROATLORA@cms.hhs.gov.