Hospitals in Jacksonville restrict visitors more, citing COVID-19 surge

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Ascension St. Vincent’s, Baptist Health and Mayo have announced visitation changes at their hospitals because of the increase in COVID-19 cases in the community.

Ascension St. Vincent’s

Based on the spread of COVID-19 in the local community, Ascension St. Vincent’s is imposing more restrictions at each of its three locations across the Jacksonville area.

Beginning Friday morning, the healthcare system is suspending patient visitation all of its campuses. Exceptions to this policy change include:

  • Pediatric/Neonatal ICU patients: One parent or legal guardian
  • Patients with disabilities or impairments or who are elderly: One designated visitor
  • Women giving birth: One designated visitor (a doula is also allowed)
  • Patients receiving end-of-life care: One designated visitor
  • Patients requiring surgery or other medical procedures: One designated visitor
  • Patients presenting to the Emergency Department: One designated visitor

Those permitted to visit under one of these exceptions must be 18 years of age. They will be subject to screening and denied access if they show symptoms of COVID-19. Masks are required for everyone.

Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic in Florida will discontinue hospital visitation effective Saturday.

For outpatient settings, visitation is discouraged to minimize overall traffic on campus and risk of exposure. Family and friends are encouraged to stay at home or wait outside or in their car.

For encounters where support is needed, the presence of a single companion is permitted.

For the updated visitation info, go to www.mayoclinic.org/patient-visitor-guide/florida or www.mayoclinic.org/covid-19/florida after Saturday.

Baptist Health

At Baptist Health, only one designated visitor will be allowed to wait during an inpatient surgery to get word from the care team beginning on Friday. That visitor will have to leave after the surgery is complete.

Visitors won’t be allowed in the inpatient unit, and there’s no adult inpatient visitation.

Dr. Elizabeth Ransom, executive vice president of Baptist Health, said restricting visitation is not something that Baptist takes lightly.

She said while most of the COVID-19 patients they are treating are not seriously ill, they do not want to see their ICU inundated at the level it was when the pandemic started, which is one of the reasons they are making these changes.

These new restrictions are in addition to restrictions Baptist already had in place, including:

  • Adult Emergency Center: One designated visitor.* If the patient is admitted, the inpatient visitation policy will apply.
  • Outpatient Surgery: One designated visitor.*
  • Labor and Delivery: One designated visitor* per day. One spouse/partner, one designated visitor or one doula per patient, per day; no combinations at this time.
  • Pediatric (excluding NICU): One adult parent/guardian at a time. Other children may not be brought along for the visit and may not be left unattended while the parent/guardian visits the patient.
  • NICU: Up to two adult visitors at a time, and no more than two visitors per day.
  • Hospice: Two loved ones will be permitted.
  • End-of-life: Two loved ones will be permitted. Care teams will arrange visitation on a case-by-case basis.
  • Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center: One visitor over 18 years of age permitted.

*What is a designated visitor?

All hospital and emergency center visitors are registered into Baptist’s system upon entry. The designated visitor of the day may come and go, but may not switch out with another visitor in the same day.

For more information, go to bit.ly/BaptistVisitation.

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