With the first confirmed COVID-related death in Maryland, more than 100 confirmed coronavirus cases across the state and an 88 percent increase in cases statewide during the past 48 hours, the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) is enacting updated visitor restrictions at all 13 system hospitals and other UMMS healthcare facilities.
Under the Strict Patient Safety Policy, which will be implemented by 3 p.m. Friday, March 20, there will be no visitors allowed, except under specific circumstances, and by prior approval of the physician administrative officer or their designee. This policy applies to all patients within UMMS hospitals and other facilities, is in alignment with Johns Hopkins Medicine, and is consistent with approaches taken by other leading health care institutions nationwide.
“Due to rapid escalation of COVID cases across Maryland and increased community spread of the disease, we have decided to enact this more aggressive and comprehensive, systemwide policy, which will be in effect until further notice,” said David Marcozzi, MD, COVID-19 Incident Commander for UMMS, associate professor and associate chair of population health within the Department of Emergency Medicine at the UM School of Medicine (SOM) and assistant chief medical officer for acute care at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Exceptions to the Strict Patient Safety Policy include:
For in-patient facilities
• End-of-life care or end of life decision making. For these situations, two visitors will be permitted.
• One parent or caregiver of a child in the neonatal intensive care unit
• One parent or caregiver of pediatric patients as long as they are not symptomatic
• One visitor inclusive of a professional support person or postpartum helper of a patient in the labor and delivery and the postpartum units
• One visitor for patients in inpatient hospice units
• One visitor to accompany patients for hospital discharge
• One visitor for patients undergoing emergency surgery
• Visitors who have been asked by the patient’s care team to be a part of scheduled family training for patients with rehabilitation needs.
For all outpatient appointments
• One visitor will be permitted to accompany a patient to facilitate care or treatment such as an ambulatory visit, procedure or same-day surgery
UMMS experts urge the public to practice vigilant hand hygiene, follow respiratory etiquette (cover mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing), maintain social distances when possible and avoid shaking hands. These strategies are fundamental to protecting our workforce, patients and the community.
More information about the Strict Patient Safety Policy can be found on the UMMS dedicated COVID-19 information webpage, https://www.umms.org/covid.