Coronavirus COVID-19

Hospitals across Delaware and Maryland are significantly limiting guest visitation, to respect social distancing measures and protect patients and staff from possible COVID-19 (Coronavirus) exposure.

Starting on the weekend of March 20, all patients will be limited to two, one or even zero guests at medical facilities in the area. This includes Beebe Healthcare, Atlantic General Hospital (AGH), Nanticoke Memorial Hospital and Peninsula Regional Medical Center (PRMC).

Friends, family and loved ones are encouraged to use electronic devices and mobile applications (such as phones, FaceTime or Skype) to keep in contact with patients.

This is a rapidly evolving situation, and hospitals may choose to implement further measures.

“Please use common sense, and do not attempt to visit patients if you are feeling unwell or may have been exposed to COVID-19, flu or any other illness,” announced the Peninsula Regional Health System.

Beebe Healthcare

As of March 18, Beebe Healthcare is limiting patients to one essential visitor at all Beebe locations.

At the hospital and all outpatient locations, guests age 16 and under will not be allowed to visit. Patients who have tested positive, or are being evaluated for, COVID-19 will not be permitted to have visitors. Guests will be screened upon arrival and may turned away if they are deemed potentially infectious.

For hospital patients at Beebe’s Margaret H. Rollins Lewes (Del.) Campus, visitation hours will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Two entrances will remain open for visitors: the main entrance near the parking garage and the emergency department entrance. The east entrance near the flagpole will be closed to visitors.

At the hospital, patients will need to specify one essential visitor who will be permitted to visit there, such as spouse, parent, caregiver, domestic partner, support person or adult child age 17 or over. The name of the one essential visitor will be recorded in the hospital’s system. This will be the only visitor permitted to visit the patient for the duration of their stay. Other visitors will not be permitted to wait inside any area of the facility, including waiting rooms, cafeterias or hallways.

Details are online at www.beebehealthcare.org.

Atlantic General Hospital

Starting March 20, no visitors for inpatients will be permitted at AGH in Berlin, Md. One adult visitor is allowed per patient for Emergency Room visits and must remain with the patient.

No visitors under age 18 are permitted to visit the hospital, including all waiting areas and common spaces. This also applies to clinics, urgent care facilities and physician offices, with the exception of pediatric providers.

Visitors will be screened for flu-like symptoms (including fever, cough, shortness of breath) and will not be permitted to visit the hospital if symptoms are present.

Visitors who have traveled internationally may not visit for 14 days after arrival into the United States.

The cafeteria and chapel will only be available to associates, providers and those approved in the updated visitor policy.

AGHRx RediScripts pharmacy store will not be available to the public. Any customers who need to pick up or drop off prescriptions can do so through curb-side service by calling (410) 641-9240, and a staff member will come outside. Anyone without a cell phone can call in advance.

Certain exceptions to the policy may be made in particular circumstances and with prior approval, including end-of-life care and required caregivers. Two parents/caregivers of pediatric patients will be permitted, as long as neither adult has flu-like symptoms.

Updates are online at www.atlanticgeneral.org.

Peninsula Regional Health System

Starting on March 20, Peninsula Regional Health System (PRHS) will suspend all inpatient visitation at all facilities, including Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, Md., and Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford, Del.

No visitors under age 18 will be permitted, unless they are parents of hospitalized children. Visiting hours are limited to noon until 8 p.m.

Exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis for specific situations, including end-of-life. In the surgery waiting area, one visitor will be allowed per patient, and social distancing is encouraged. Two parents or caregivers of pediatric patients will be permitted, as long as neither is symptomatic. In Labor & Delivery, two visitors will be allowed, including any professional support person or postpartum helper, as long as neither has any symptoms or exposure to COVID-19. Siblings should stay at home and be introduced to the baby in the safety and comfort of their own home, upon discharge.

All physician offices, specialty practices and immediate care centers will remain open for patient appointments. However, no additional people will be allowed in the waiting rooms. Individuals who are driving patients to their appointments are asked to wait in their vehicles.

No visitors are permitted at Tawes Nursing Home or Chesapeake Cove Assisted Living on the Bay, in order to protect the vulnerable senior citizen population.

Many outpatient services are canceled (full list at www.peninsula.org/outpatient-services-changescovid-19), as are all public events, classes and support groups.

Flowers, balloons and gifts may not be delivered, starting on Monday, March 23. The CDC has said that it may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes. Even though this is not considered to be the main way the virus spreads, PRHS wants to be proactive in protecting patients and staff. Gifts can be delivered when the patients return home, so they can enjoy the gift during their recovery. Well-wishers can use the PRHS e-card program, which will be printed out and delivered to the patient rooms.

The Junior Board Shop is closed. The Junior Board Cafe, located in the Hanna Outpatient entrance, and the Pines Cafe in the Ocean Pines Health Pavilion, will offer to-go meals from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

In-person requests for medical records cannot be processed at this time. People can visit www.mypencare.org for online medical record access and a printable medical release form.

Vendors are asked to refrain from visiting facilities until further notice, unless their assistance is required with critical procedures.

Details are online at www.peninsula.org and www.nanticoke.org.

Staff Reporter

Laura Walter is an award-winning reporter on schools, environment, people and history. A graduate of Indian River High School and Washington College, she has rappelled off a building and assisted a magician, and encourages readers to act on local issues.