SPRINGFIELD — Baystate Health is announcing some significant changes to its hospital visitor (also referred to now as care-partner) policy guidelines as COVID-19 and its extremely contagious Delta variant is circulating in the communities it serves. Changes are effective Tuesday, Aug. 31.
These guidelines balance preventing the spread of COVID-19 with the needs of patients and their loved ones. A care partner may be a relative, partner, friend, or anyone the patient chooses to have at their side during care. The number of care partners welcomed will depend on the area of the hospital and patient circumstances.
Red, yellow, green, and gray tiers (also called zones) still remain in effect for visitation based on CDC, DPH, and state guidelines, but the policy details within the tiers change over time. Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Baystate Noble Hospital in Westfield, and Baystate Wing Hospital in Palmer are now in the red tier, and Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield is now in the yellow tier.
Major red tier changes include one visitor per day for patients who are not in the ICU (previously one visitor at a time); two visitors per day for patients in the ICU (previously two visitors at a time); and one parent or guardian at a time for pediatric patients (previously two parents or guardians at a time).
Major yellow tier changes include one visitor at a time for patients who are not in the ICU (previously two visitors at a time). Also, no one under the age of 18 may visit unless a designated exception applies, such as an end-of-life situation.
Visiting hours remain from noon to 8 p.m. All visitors must adhere to Baystate Health infection-control practices that are in effect throughout the health system, including wearing facemasks at all times, whether in the patient’s room or in other areas of the hospital; and frequent handwashing. Visitors with a fever, cough, or other COVID-19 symptoms will not be able to visit.
Baystate Health regularly evaluates its visitation policy in accordance with the governor, CDC, and DPH, who are monitoring the constant evolution in our region, which guides hospital updates. Visitation is at the discretion of Baystate Health. Baystate Health will continue to review the county data and CDC, DPH, and state guidelines weekly to determine which tier each county will be in. To stay up to date and see exceptions for each tier, including obstetrics, visit baystatehealth.org/patients/visiting.