SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — The Baptist Health System is relaxing visitor guidelines at all local hospitals effective immediately.
The health system made the announcement on Friday, noting the decrease in COVID-19 hospitalizations prompting the rule changes. The relaxed rules apply to the five hospitals in San Antonio and the hospital in New Braunfels.
Visitors are now allowed to remain with patients between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. The health system noted that visitors must be older than 16-years-old, be wearing a mask at all times, wash and sanitize hands, practice social distancing, stay in designated areas and to not congregate in waiting areas.
The health system said hospitals may turn away visitors who have a measured temperature over 100 degrees F or feel feverish, have a cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell and other COVID-19 symptoms, along with close contact with a COVID-19 positive or exposed person within the last 14 days.
A number of patients will also be allowed to have visitors at all times that include patients with disabilities that require a support person to communicate with medical personnel, patients at end of life, patients in active labor, postpartum patients, pediatric and NICU patients.
Patients may also now request in-person visitation by a religious counselor or clergy.
Health system officials said that visitation for patients in COVID-19 isolation will be up to the discretion of the attending physician and determined based on the COVID-19 infection or symptom status of the guest as well as taking exposure risk factors into consideration.
The Baptist Health System will now allow patients undergoing elective or invasive surgical procedures to have visitors escort the patient to registration and must remain in the designation waiting room or lobby during the procedure, must wear a mask and practice social distancing, and remain at the patient’s bedside during recovery.
The health system said hospital entry points will be limited in order to more accurately facilitate employee, physician, visitor and vendor screening.