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ASHEVILLE — To protect patients and staff from the spread of coronavirus, Mission Health will elevate visitor restrictions to Level 3, and will no longer allow visitors to any facilities until further notice.

Pediatric patients will be allowed to have one adult visitor with them at a time.

“The health and safety of our patients and team members is our top priority, and we are taking this very seriously,” Mission Health’s leadership said. “We know this may be difficult and wish the situation were different, but we are taking every precaution to protect those in our care.”

Hospital staff members are following established protocols to care for patients with infectious diseases, and CDC guidelines related to COVID-19 cases, including isolating the patients and taking steps to ensure the safety of patients, employees and visitors.

Mission Hospital will reduce its entrances to the following:

» Entrance 1: Emergency Department — open 24/7 to patients (only public entrance).

» Entrance 9: Labor and Delivery — accessible 24/7 (for expectant mothers only).

Access and visitor restrictions are in place at all Mission Health locations, regional hospitals and care partners.

“These updates are meant to keep our colleagues, patients and visitors healthy and reduce the possibility of exposure to the virus,” officials with the hospital system said. “We want to ensure that we remain a continual resource for the communities we serve and are committed to delivering the most effective care with the best possible results.”

The hospital also has suspended all nonessential surgery and procedures, according to guidelines set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“Mission Hospital has well-established protocols in place to care for patients with infectious diseases, and we have been working diligently in our preparations for COVID-19,” said William Hathaway, MD, chief medical officer for Mission Health. “Part of our response includes balancing our readiness to care for patients with COVID-19 while continuing to make sure the many other patients who depend on our hospitals receive needed and timely care. We have been closely following the recommended guidelines from CMS to review scheduled procedures based on a number of factors, including the urgency of the procedure, the clinical judgement of our physicians as well as the current circumstances in the facility and the community.”

CMS released new guidelines for surgeries and procedures on March 18. These guidelines include several “tiers” of surgeries and procedures, with different guidance for each.

“We will continue to accommodate the surgeries and procedures determined to be appropriate under the CMS guidelines, and conversations with clinical leadership and surgeons will continue to prioritize surgical cases in the future to ensure the hospital is prepared to safely meet the needs of all our patients, while protecting the health and well-being of our colleagues,” Hathaway said.

For information, visit Mission health.org/covid-19.

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