Memorial Hermann Health System is changing its visitor policy in an attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the upper-respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus strain, the Houston-based hospital announced Monday morning.
Beginning at 7 a.m. Tuesday, March 10, all patients and visitors will be screened at designated entry points, including the emergency centers, before being allowed to enter 23 Memorial Hermann facilities around the Houston area. The hospital system also is limiting the number of daily visitors per patient — two adults per per day or one adult per day for patients who are in isolation.
The area locations impacted are Memorial Hermann Greater Heights Hospital at 1635 N Loop W and Memorial Hermann Convenient Care Center in Greater Heights at 1431 Studemont St.
Memorial Hermann announced Saturday that 11 of its healthcare workers are quarantining themselves after coming in contact with someone who later tested positive for COVID-19. According to a report by Houston Public Media, three of those healthcare workers have showed mild symptoms of the disease, which according to health officials are fever, cough and shortness of breath.
A total of 12 people in the Houston area have tested positive for the new coronavirus — two in Houston, four in northwest Harris County and six in Fort Bend County — according to local health officials. All 12 are between 60 and 70 years old and recently traveled on the same cruise ship in Egypt.
According to information on the Harris County Public Health website, more than 111,000 people around the world have contracted the disease, with the initial outbreak in China in December, and more than 560 cases have been identified in the United States. COVID-19 has led to nearly 3,900 deaths globally, with more than 62,000 people having recovered from the disease.
Memorial Hermann said its screening process will be brief and include a temperature check and questionnaire. People cleared through the screening process will receive a color-coded wristband that must be worn throughout their hospital visit. Visitors who are sick or do not pass the screening will not be permitted to enter any of the hospital facilities.
Visitors of patients in isolation will be required to wear personal protective equipment and will not be allowed to visit common areas within the facility.
The hospital’s visitor policy also applies to vendors and contractors.