Suncoast Hospitals Change Visitation Policies Amid Spikes in Coronavirus Cases

Suncoast Hospitals Change Visitation Policies Amid Spikes in Coronavirus Cases
Sarasota Memorial Hospital has seen a decrease in patients coming in with COVID-19. (Source: Sarasota Memorial Hospital)

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Hospitals on the Suncoast are now implementing limitations on visitors, once again, because of the huge spikes in coronavirus cases. Sarasota Memorial Hospital was the first to announce changes yesterday. They now have a “no visitors” rule in place that begins Friday at 6 p.m.

“It’s something that we really don’t want to do. We want to be as open as we possibly can, but when we see the numbers coming back as heavily as they have, we also need to protect Sarasota Memorial as a resource for this community,” explained David Verinder, President & CEO of Sarasota Memorial.

Although locally, we’re still seeing low numbers compared to the rest of the state, hospitals on the Suncoast say they are taking a proactive approach to limit the spread of the virus not only in the hospital, but in the community, by limiting the number of people in and out of their facilities.

Venice Regional Bayfront Health has also joined Sarasota Memorial in not allowing any visitors. While all other hospitals on the Suncoast are limiting it to one visitor per patient.
Venice Regional Bayfront Health has also joined Sarasota Memorial in not allowing any visitors. While all other hospitals on the Suncoast are limiting it to one visitor per patient. (Source: WWSB)

Venice Regional Bayfront Health has also joined Sarasota Memorial in not allowing any visitors. While all other hospitals on the Suncoast are limiting it to one visitor per patient. However, all facilities say this will not impact elective surgeries. All procedures will continue being scheduled and performed.

“We did a very good job from the beginning preserving our PPE in the hospital. We were vigilant to make sure we had enough of it and using it for the right procedures in the hospital, so we feel very secure on our supply of PPE moving forward. We have no plans of stopping any elective surgeries,” explained Kevin DiLallo, CEO of Manatee Memorial Hospital.

All hospitals in Sarasota and Manatee counties are confident that with their strict guidelines and safety measures, they will continue helping contain the spread.

“Take your own health into consideration before anything else. That’s the most important thing. The hospitals are all safe, reliable and clean. They’re taking extra precautions during this COVID-time,” DiLallo said.

Extreme cleaning and disinfecting will be done daily, and everyone entering the facilities will be screened with their temperature taken and must be wearing a mask. Plus,  patients getting any type of procedure done, will have to test for COVID-19 up to 72 hours before surgery.

“We know that it’s important for patients in the hospital to have their family and loved ones visit them, even if it’s on a limited-basis. It absolutely helps with the healing process, so we definitely want to get back to that as soon as it’s safe,” expressed Verinder.

Hospitals say they will be reevaluating their visitation policies daily, and will continue deciding whether or not to add restrictions based off of safety.

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