PITTSBURG — As part of a comprehensive response to preparedness for the COVID-19 outbreak, Ascension Via Christi has revised its visitor guidelines, a release from the hospital said.

"Our guidance addresses the safety of our associates and the persons with whom we are privileged to serve, in addition to ensuring that we continue to deliver optimal care," said Sam Antonios, MD, who serves as the hospitals' chief medical officer, in announcing the updated guidance regarding visitation designed to further ensure the safety of patients, visitors, associates and volunteers.

In alliance with the most current CDC recommendations, Ascension Via Christi hospitals has revised its communications to reflect the following: No visitors who have flu-like symptoms and/or cough, fever, and/or shortness of breath, runny nose/nasal congestion or sore throat; Visits by children under age 14 will be at the discretion of patients and clinicians involved in their care; As per CDC guidance, visitors should not visit if they have returned from a country within the last 14 days that the CDC has designated as Level 3 Warning or Level 2 for Novel Coronavirus, and Visitors should be limited to two at any given time.

"If there are extenuating circumstances, we ask that patients and families talk to their nurse, who will discuss the concern with the healthcare team to determine appropriate visitation that is safe for everyone concerned," said Dr. Antonios. Visitors are being encouraged to wash their hands and/or use an alcohol-based hand rub prior to entering and when leaving a patient’s room, a practice already in place with staff. "Again, our first priority is the safety of patients and families as well as our medical staff, associates and volunteers," said Dr. Antonios. "We believe that's best accomplished by continuing to closely aligning our practices with the evidence-based practices outlined by the CDC."