COVID-19 spike leads Jacksonville hospital to cut visitation
UF Health Jacksonville

The virus is overwhelming hospitals.

COVID-19 is spiraling out of control in Northeast Florida, and the region’s safety net hospital is taking drastic measures.

UF Health announced Tuesday that visitation would be “limited” in light of the resurgent coronavirus, with the delta variant overwhelming the facility again this summer.

In a brutal sign of the time, the hospital this week was featured on NBC News, which reported on the staff’s herculean struggles amid a record breaking and resource stretching pace of coronavirus admissions.

“Due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in Jacksonville and Florida, visitation is limited at this time. The visitation policy is continuously re-evaluated based on the risk of COVID-19 and in consideration of patient, family and health care providers,” asserts the facility’s visitor information page.

Among the changes: Most children will be banned from visiting the hospital altogether. Visitors must be 16 years of age and older, and they will be screened for symptoms upon entry.

At UF Health’s main campus and UF Health North, only one visitor may show up per patient at a time. And visitation hours are limited, running from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“If more than one visitor comes to see a patient, please trade places with each other outside the building,” the direction goes.

Clinics on and off campus are closed to visitors. However, visitors are permitted in the emergency department, but with caveats: One visitor per patient.

And there is a macabre version of a door policy also: When capacity is reached, no visitors will be allowed in.

Surgeries and pregnancies, also, will be permitted one visitor per patient.

Expect this to be the new normal.

“We’re gaining cases at such a rapid rate we don’t really know where it’s going to stop,” UF Health’s Chad Neilsen told NBC News. “We aren’t even thinking a couple of months. We’re thinking what’s going to immediately happen in the next week.”

The most recent stats from the Florida Department of Health paint a grim picture. Duval County recorded 4,428 new cases in the last week for which statistics are available, July 9-15. But it is clear that stats are running behind the brutal reality facing ER staff as the delta variant surges.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski

One comment

  • Michael Hoffmann

    July 20, 2021 at 10:00 pm

    You’re slacking, AJ. No quotes in this story from the Guv or Rick?

    Both have now confessed in public they got the shot, think it’s a good idea for them (and presumably their spouses), but still don’t want to pressure anyone. Oh, no, goodness, no — no pressure! Such gentle souls.

    Looks like Lenny is the better man, for what it’s worth.

Comments are closed.


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