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AHN Announces Additional Measures to Limit Visitation at Affiliated Hospitals during COVID-19 Outbreak

Sunday, March 15, 2020

All Visitors at Affiliated Hospitals to be Screened Before Entering

PITTSBURGH – Allegheny Health Network (AHN) announced today that additional measures are being implemented to further restrict visitation at its affiliated hospitals in response to the growing outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) across the United States and western Pennsylvania. Effective immediately, all visitors will be screened at AHN hospital entrances to assess their risk of having an infectious respiratory illness, including COVID-19.

“With the first documented cases of COVID-19 in our region this week, we continue to look at every opportunity to further safeguard our patients and caregivers during this challenging time for our community,” said Brian Parker, MD, AHN’s Chief Quality Officer.  “It is abundantly clear that one effective way to prevent the spread of illness in a health care facility is to limit the number of people who are visiting patients and interacting with caregivers.  We understand this is a temporary inconvenience for our patient’s friends and family members, but it’s one that we believe is in the very best interests of everyone.”

Last week, AHN began limiting the number of visitors for a patient to one at a time in the patient’s hospital room.   Exceptions are being made for patients who are receiving end of life care and for patients in both the labor and delivery suites (L&D) and Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU). Two visitors at a time are permitted for patients in those areas. 

AHN’s new visitor screening policy is meant to ensure the tactics of physical distancing and limiting exposure to care givers and patients are leveraged to further prevent the spread of respiratory illness in the hospital setting.  It’s also part of network’s efforts to keep individuals who may be sick themselves from visiting the hospital for non-medical reasons.

Until further notice, visitors at all AHN hospital entrances will be screened and asked the following two questions:

·         Have you traveled domestically or internationally in the last 14 days?

·         Do you have a cough or fever?

If visitors answer yes to either question, they will not be permitted to enter the facility. AHN is also reducing the number of entrance points at each of its hospitals to help manage the new screening policy.