x
Breaking News
More () »

Tampa Bay and Sarasota's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Tampa Bay and Sarasota, FL | WTSP.com

As COVID cases surge, Lakeland Regional again tightens visitation policies

“We have more patients hospitalized right now than we’ve had at any point during the pandemic. So, it’s a real threat,” said Chief Nurse Executive April Novotny.

LAKELAND, Fla. — It’s another sign of growing COVID-19 concerns in our region.

On Monday, Lakeland Regional Health announced a new visitation policy limiting the number of people allowed in the hospital.

Administrators say they have no choice. As the number of COVID-19 infections in our community continues to hit all-time highs, they are again, significantly reducing visitation.

“We have more patients hospitalized right now than we’ve had at any point during the pandemic. So, it’s a real threat,” said Chief Nurse Executive April Novotny. “And every person that comes to this building is just potentially one more source of infection.

Some of the restrictions are a continuation of the hospital’s ongoing pandemic policy, including a limit of one visitor in the obstetrics unit, and no children 16 and under, unless of course, they are the patient.

Lakeland Regional is re-introducing other restrictions it had lifted earlier in the pandemic.

Only parents or guardians are allowed in the pediatric, children’s emergency, and neonatal intensive care unit.

No visitors are allowed in the ICU, other than end-of-life patients and only with approval from the nursing leader in charge of that unit.

Patients who’ve undergone surgery can have up to two visitors. In the ER it’s limited to one.

All others are asked to refrain from coming to the medical center.

“Obviously, we want families at the bedside,” said Novotny. “We consider them part of our care team, and they are important part of patient’s healing process. So, this is not a decision that we take lightly.”

The hospital is using technology to help bridge the gap in some cases.

“We are doing as much as we can to keep families connected through video conferencing, phone calls, and other means,” she said.

The hospital says those allowed into the medical center can expect temperature checks, questions about possible COVID exposure, and must wear a mask throughout the course of their visit.

There is no date set on when these visitation restrictions will be lifted.

“We will continually assess the situation to see when we may be able to relax visitation,” said Novotny, “But with numbers higher now than we’ve ever seen, we just need to take every precaution we can and to keep our patients, our visitors, our staff and our community safe.”

What other people are reading right now:

►Breaking news and weather alerts: Get the free 10 Tampa Bay app

Stay In the Know! Sign up now for the Brightside Blend Newsletter