Cook Children's COVID-19 Visitation Restrictions Q&A
With the rise in local COVID-19 cases, Cook Children’s Medical Center is changing its inpatient visitor policy to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus on campus. Beginning Monday, Nov. 16 at 5 a.m., only one primary caregiver will be allowed per patient inside the medical center.
Medical Director of Infectious Diseases, Suzanne Whitworth, M.D., hosted a Q&A with reporters to answer questions about this change.
Why does Cook Children’s need to reinstate this visitation policy?
We have been keeping a close eye on community numbers for COVID-19 and we know that they have gone up dramatically over the last five or six days. In thinking through that, we want our patients in the hospital and our staff to have less exposure to the community. So this, conceivably, has 200 less people in the building during the day, which is going to reduce exposures. That's really the main goal.
How difficult was it to reach this decision?
It’s terrible to reach this decision because we're all parents, and we are doing our best in a really difficult time to try to keep everybody safe. The adult hospitals have had no visitors and I don't know how they did that. These kids will at least have a parent or a relative at the bedside 24 hours a day if they want to. They won't be alone. We just feel like this is the safest thing for everyone.
When will this restriction be lifted?
We are going to lift the restriction when we feel like it's safe for our patients and families to do so, and also safe for our staff. So it would have to be at a time when community transmission is much lower than it is now. I don't have a number about that at this point, but we will wait and look forward to going back to having visitors when we feel like it's safe.
Are there exceptions for this rule?
We have exceptions for the emergency room and for end of life situations.
How is the morale of the staff at Cook Children’s?
I think everybody is doing really well. I think that we go to work with a goal and a mission. All of us want our lives back, me included. There’s still a sense of ‘When is this going to be over?’ But I think we're really lucky because we work with children who make you laugh and I think we all enjoy our jobs. So, I think generally, just being around the hospital, making rounds and having clinic, I think we're doing pretty well.
COVID-19 Resources and Education
As the number of U.S. cities affected by coronavirus continues to grow, Cook Children's understands that your concerns are growing as well. With all of the news stories and social media that surround us every day, knowing what information is reliable can be confusing.
Our website, cookchildrens.org/coranavirus, provides information you can trust and resources to help you and your children thrive during these challenging times. Be sure to check back often, as we’re continually updating this site to make sure you have the most current information at your fingertips.