EAMC adds visitation restrictions as COVID cases surge

EAMC adds visitation restrictions as COVID cases surge
EAMC adds visitation restrictions as COVID cases surge
Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 7:26 PM EDT
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OPELIKA, Ala. (WTVM) - East Alabama Medical Center is imposing restrictions to combat the spike of COVID-19 patients. With less than 40% of the state vaccinated, officials are trying to curtail the spread of the Delta variant.

With such low vaccination levels in Lee County and surrounding areas, EAMC is hoping for a safe return to normalcy. Last week, there were 23 patients with COVID-19 at East Alabama Medical Center. Monday, that number increased to 30, according to John Atkinson, public relations and marketing director.

“The more people we can get vaccinated, the less likely we are to have hospitalizations, have deaths, and have cases growing so much in the community,” Atkinson said.

As the Delta variant is quickly spreading throughout the country, Atkinson says it’s much more contagious than any other strain of COVID. “It’s a short time frame with the Delta variant. It used to be 10 to 15 minutes you could have that exposure. Now, it’s more like one to two minutes.”

With this in mind, EAMC has imposed visiting restrictions. People in the hospital’s main impatient unit are now only allowed two visitors a day: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Linda Sellers is one of the few Alabama residents who have gotten vaccinated. “I think that more people need to get the vaccine to protect themselves and their families.”

She says although she’s never personally experienced the pain of not being able to visit a loved one in the hospital, “I had a friend that died there of COVID and she was there for a long period of time and, at times, her family couldn’t visit her and towards the end they did.”

While Atkinson says EAMC would love for their patients to have several visitors, he says the public’s safety comes first. “The Delta variant is what’s causing so much concern. It’s prominent in 83% of new cases.”

Those trying to visit patients with COVID at EAMC will need to book an appointment which has to be approved by staff.

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