With the spike in novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases throughout Illinois including the southern Illinois region, HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital is no longer allowing visitors to the hospital, effective immediately, and entrances have been restricted.
The only non-emergent patient entrance to the hospital is the Outpatient Entrance (under blue “Outpatient” sign).
“Prior to last week, positive cases in our region were travel-related but now that community spread has been identified, these added restrictions are being put in place,” a statement said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines community spread to be when people have been infected with the virus and they are not sure how or where they became infected. Travel-related infections are those traced to patients who had traveled to areas where the CDC has identified widespread and ongoing transmission of the virus or patients who had contact with someone who traveled to these areas.
Loved ones can be checked on by calling the hospital at (618) 234-2120. Family and support persons should make sure to provide the nursing staff with their contact information.
In addition, St. Elizabeth’s is working on ways to facilitate electronic communications for those who wish to utilize them including use of iPads and the EASE app to allow real-time updates and videos to family members.
The following exceptions to the “no visitor” policy are as follows:
Obstetrical patients are allowed one support person who needs to be the same throughout the stay.
Hospice patients are allowed one support person.
Pediatric inpatients under the age of 18 are allowed one parent or guardian.
Patients seeking emergency services are allowed one support person to stay in a designated waiting area.
Surgery patients are allowed one support person to stay in a designated pre/post room.
For outpatient procedure patients, we encourage just the patient enter the building. IF a support person is needed for wheelchair or mobility assistance one support person is allowed and will be directed to a designated waiting area.
Dr. Vinay Bhooma, chief medical officer, shared, “We understand that this restriction of no visitors is extremely difficult, especially for those who have loved ones in the hospital with severe health issues. But along with many other hospitals across the nation, these precautions are some of the many proactive measures St. Elizabeth’s and our entire health system are taking to ensure we keep our patients, staff and community as safe as possible.”
St. Elizabeth’s is also taking the additional safety precaution of screening each person who enters the building. Colleagues, physicians, patients and any of the above noted patient support exceptions will get their temperature taken and asked appropriate screening questions before proceeding to other areas of the hospital.
“Thank you for your patience and understanding. We have a very important job to do in protecting the vulnerable patients we are caring for and our communities. We also need to do everything we can to keep our strong and competent care providers as healthy as possible,” the hospital said in a statement.