Hillsdale Hos­pital has rein­stated its pre-pan­demic vis­iting policy due to the decrease in COVID-19 patients. 

Rachel Lott, director of mar­keting and devel­opment, said as of March 23 there have been 12 con­sec­utive days of no COVID-19 patients at the hos­pital. This is great news for the com­munity, and it means that people are not getting sick like they were before, she said. 

“So now at this point, we’re returning to our pre-pan­demic visitor policy that we used to have in place, which is up to two vis­itors per patient,” Lott said. 

Vis­iting restric­tions are only put in place when absolutely nec­essary, and they are never meant to be per­manent, but to protect the vul­nerable in times of rising sickness, Lott said.

“It takes a lot of strain and stress off of our staff, which is also won­derful. They’ve been working very hard for the last two years,” Lott said. 

The number of vis­itors allowed during vis­iting hours will return to normal in all areas of the hos­pital with the exception of the Bediako Birthing Center, Lott said in a press release. Even though there is a decrease in COVID-19 cases, every year they limit vis­iting for the birthing center due to a rise in res­pi­ratory ill­nesses and influenza. The birthing center allows two adults for support who can be present during the entire duration of stay, and two healthy grand­parents who are allowed to visit between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Lott explained. 

“Vis­iting hours is some­thing we do only when absolutely nec­essary to protect our patients and keep them safe when they’re already in a sick and vul­nerable position,” Lott said. 

Having friends and family being able to be present with patients can have a great effect on the impact of one’s health. Both emo­tionally and men­tally it is critical to have a familiar support system present to have the best pos­sible out­comes healthwise, according to Lott. 

“Family members of patients can now be more involved in the care they will have the ability to more directly com­mu­nicate with the nurses and our physi­cians who are taking care of indi­viduals,” Lott said. 

Lott also said in the press release that the gift shop is now open to the public and is excited to welcome back the public. 

“To see those numbers go down, it’s very reas­suring and very pos­itive for the hos­pital and our com­munity,” Lott said.