Rising COVID activity has led to the return of visitation restrictions for hospitals in some parts of New Jersey, the New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA) announced on Aug. 19.
Under color-coded visitation guidelines adopted across the state’s hospitals, a system developed in November 2020 by the NJHA and adopted by hospitals statewide, the Southeast and Southwest regions of the state are now at level yellow.
Level yellow generally allows hospitalized patients to receive just one visitor at a time, with precautions such as masking and symptom screening. However, visitors are not allowed for COVID patients or those who are immunocompromised. Those circumstances include care being provided to pediatric patients or patients with an intellectual, developmental or other cognitive disability.
The visitation levels are reassessed weekly based on COVID-19 levels in the community and hospital capacity within the region. Until this month, all four of the state’s regions have been in level green since mid-May, which generally allows two visitors at a time.
The system is designed to limit COVID spread and protect those within the hospital, while also providing uniformity for patients and their loved ones.
“The added visitation precautions are triggered by the rise in COVID cases and hospitalizations across New Jersey, attributable to the highly contagious delta variant and individuals who are not yet vaccinated,” said NJHA President and Chief Executive Officer Cathy Bennett.
From mid-July to mid-August, New Jersey data show a seven-day average increase of 271.6% in new cases and 168.5% in hospitalizations. According to the New Jersey Department of Health, the delta variant accounts for 96% of cases, based on a sampling of positive tests from the last two weeks of July.
“The current trajectory of new infections shows some of the fastest spread of COVID that we have seen since the spring of 2020,” said Bennett. “The new variants are more contagious. We encourage everyone to get vaccinated to stop the spread of COVID-19 and avoid further impact to our schools and businesses, as well as our patients, visitors and health care professionals.”