Sarasota Memorial Hospital limiting visitors due to rapid increase in COVID-19 cases; Doctors Hospital not changing visitation yet

Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 4:31 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 26, 2021 at 10:04 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Starting Tuesday, Sarasota Memorial Hospital will be tightening its visitation restrictions, including shortening visiting hours and limiting the number of people that can enter the hospital. This is due to the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases both in the hospital and the community.

“We know how important visitor support is to our patients, but these new restrictions are for everyone’s protection,” said Chief Medical Officer James Fiorica, MD. “We once again urge everyone to get the vaccine as soon as possible to stop this spike in serious cases.”

As of Monday, July 26, SMH had 86 COVID-positive cases, up from 54 on Friday. The majority of these cases are unvaccinated patients. Proof of a COVID-19 shot is still not required to visit patients, although hospital leaders still strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated.

The updated visitation restrictions are listed below. For more details, visit the hospital website here.

  • Most patients will be allowed two visitors per day between noon and 6 p.m. The two visitors can either come separately or together and stay the entire time. Visitors must be age 16 or older and wear a mask at all times.
  • There will be a no-visitor policy for suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients, with exceptions for end-of-life situations.
  • For Pediatric patients - two parents or designated caregivers may visit.
  • For Neonatal Intensive Care Unit patients - two visitors at a time at the bedside. The two visitors can be the patient’s parent, a support person or one designated alternate caregiver (age 16 or older).
  • Obstetrical patients will be allowed to have one support person. In the event a laboring mother is transferred to SMH, a certified doula or community midwife involved in the birth also will be permitted.
  • ER patients may have one support person to accompany the patient to the ECC treatment room, or wait in the hospital’s main lobby and use a cell phone to communicate with the patient
  • Patients in surgical, procedural, and testing areas each may have one support person (access limited to the first floor or in the designated waiting area).
  • In-person visitation is currently not permitted at Bayside Center for Behavioral Health; staff will gladly assist with setting up virtual or by-phone visitations
  • Limited resident visitation is permitted at the Sarasota Memorial Nursing and Rehabilitation Center by appointment only. Call 941-917-1938 to schedule.

SMH will continue to update the policies as needed.

A spokesperson for Doctors Hospital of Sarasota released the following statement to ABC7 on Monday night:

“The number of COVID-19 positive patients is increasing, but we have sufficient resources to care for our community. At this time, there are no changes with our visitation policy. We are carefully monitoring the situation. With the majority of hospitalizations being patients who are unvaccinated, it is critical that we do everything we can to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. One of the safest and most effective ways to end the pandemic is to become vaccinated. We strongly encourage anyone who has not yet received the COVID-19 vaccine to make your appointment for vaccination.”

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