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Duke Health Hospitals and Clinics Ease Some Visitor Restrictions for COVID-19

New guidelines provide additional visitors for children, women having babies and others


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DURHAM, N.C. -- Effective today (June 24), Duke Health will ease some of its hospital visitation guidelines based on recommendations from infectious disease experts and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The new guidelines, which update measures enacted in March to protect patients, visitors and staff from the spread of COVID-19, still require that all visitors to Duke hospitals and clinics be screened upon entering and that they wear masks throughout the facilities. Masks will be provided if needed.

With limited exceptions, visitation hours for hospital patients are from 1-9 p.m. daily.

Under the new policies:

o    Adults who are hospitalized can designate one adult support person to visit during their entire length of stay in the hospital. Exceptions will be made for end-of-life care. Visitors should remain in the patient room; no visitors are permitted in lobbies and waiting rooms. 

o    For children who are hospitalized, two parents/guardians will be allowed in the hospital room, but pre- and post-operative surgical areas will still be limited to one parent or guardian.

o    Emergency Department patients may designate one adult support person to accompany them.

o    No visitors will be permitted for COVID-19 patients or patients under investigation for COVID-19, with exceptions made for end-of-life care.

o    Mothers in labor may designate two support people, which could include a doula. After birth, patients may designate one support person for the entire length of stay in the hospital..

o    Adult same-day surgery patients will be allowed one visitor to accompany them to facilitate care for their procedure, and the visitor will be required to remain in a designated waiting room during the procedure or surgery.

o    Patients can have one visitor accompany them to appointments at outpatient clinics, unless additional assistance is needed.

No one should visit a patient if they have come into contact with someone who is under investigation or tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days. Anyone with symptoms will not be permitted to visit and will receive instructions for seeking health care.

Screenings at designated entry points include a temperature check, questions about symptoms, hand sanitation and a mask check.

“We recognize these restrictions may be difficult for you and your loved ones,” said Thomas Owens, M.D., senior vice president of Duke University Health System. “This is an unprecedented time, and the COVID-19 hospital visitor policy is intended to provide additional safeguards for our patients, families, visitors and team members.”

A detailed explanation of the new policies is available at

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