HOLYOKE — In light of the exponential spread of COVID-19 infections nationally and internationally as well as reported cases in Massachusetts, Holyoke Medical Center (HMC) is taking measures to minimize traffic and potential exposure in the hospital in order to reduce the risk to patients and staff.
Effective immediately, no visitors will be allowed into any inpatient or outpatient unit at HMC. Policies for patients arriving at the Emergency Department will allow for minors to be accompanied by one parent. For adults arriving at the Emergency Department, one adult visitor will be allowed into the waiting room. No visitors, other than an adult accompanying a minor, will be allowed into the treatment areas of the Emergency Department. The Maternity Unit will allow for one birthing partner only.
In specific circumstances, exceptions will be made on a one-to-one basis such as end-of-life care or a patient in need of a medical guardian or decision maker. Patients and families are encouraged to discuss any special requirements with a member of the patient-care staff.
“While there have been no cases of COVID-19 infections at Holyoke Medical Center and the threat of infection overall continues to be assessed as being low, we have an obligation to minimize the risk to our patients and to our staff,” said Spiros Hatiras, president and CEO. “Hospitals around the nation are experiencing staff shortages when staff is exposed to confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection. After great deliberation, we feel it is vitally important to protect our patients and our workforce so that they can be ready and available to provide care to our community. We understand this is not easy for our patients, their families, and their loved ones, but we also know that we are expected to take whatever steps are necessary to reduce the risk to all.”
In addition, Holyoke Medical Center is restricting access to the hospital facilities for all non-essential personnel, such as vendors, outside contractors, students, and volunteers.
All outpatient testing and scheduled procedures are continuing without interruption both at the main campus and at all satellite locations. However, some changes in flow through the facility, such as entry and exit points, waiting areas, etc., are necessary. Onsite personnel and signage will direct patients to the appropriate locations.
Holyoke Medical Center will continue monitoring and evaluating the situation and will continue to act in the best interest of our patients and employees. The hospital’s incident command center has been activated and will remain active and on alert as the situation evolves.