Southcoast Health has announced the temporary suspension of inpatient visitation at its facilities starting today, due to the spread of COVID-19.

The healthcare company released a statement announcing the change on its Facebook page at 7:15 p.m. on Tuesday.

It is unclear when the new policy will be lifted.

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There are exceptions to the new policy depending on what healthcare unit the patient is in, however.

Legal guardians and health care proxies are allowed for patients in adult inpatient units and emergency departments.

Patients in those departments who have cognitive, intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, altered mental status, or communication barriers can also receive visits from one essential support worker.

For family centered units, a birth partner and the parents of a minor are allowed with appropriate clearance.

Children under the age of 12 are not allowed in these units.

For ambulatory surgery or post anesthesia care units, visitors are allowed at the discretion of the care team.

All visitors who meet exceptions must either show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or show a negative PCR testing result from a laboratory within 24 hours of the visit.

For COVID-19 patients, only birth partners and those present for comfort measures/end of life care are allowed for visitation.

If fully vaccinated, birth partners can visit for the birth of the baby and after with a negative COVID-19 test result and symptom screening.

If not vaccinated, birth partners must quarantine for 5 days after the mother's isolation period and can visit for the birth of the baby, but must leave an hour after the baby is born.

Outpatient visitation excludes newborn visits but allows for one visitor per patient.

Fully vaccinated people who have recently traveled on a cruise or internationally and have not had a negative testing result are not allowed to visit, nor are those who have not self-quarantined for five days if unvaccinated.

Those with COVID symptoms are not allowed to visit.

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