STATESBORO, Ga. (WSAV) – A Bulloch County hospital updated its visitor policy Wednesday due to a recent increase in COVID-19 numbers.
East Georgia Regional Medical Center is now limiting visitation to one visitor per patient, and all visitors must be over the age of 16.
Masks remain a requirement and the number of entrances to the hospital remain limited.
On Wednesday, 24 confirmed cases of the virus were reported in the county, according to data from the state health department. Earlier this month, weekly case numbers were averaging in the single digits.
Ted Wynn, the county’s Public Safety Director, said the increase in cases is alarming.
“I’m concerned about going into the fall and going into the winter with numbers beginning to tick back up,” Wynn said. “We certainly don’t want to go back to where we were back last year. Vaccination is the best strategy right now and I would just encourage folks to do that.”
26% of Bulloch County residents are fully-vaccinated, according to the state health department.
Between the Delta variant and current vaccination rate, Wynn expects the upward trend to continue in the coming weeks and months.
“The lower numbers of vaccination rate is contributing to this greatly,” Wynn said. “Vaccine is currently the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic and I just would encourage folks who haven’t gotten it to please consider doing that.”
Seven COVID-19 patients are being treated at East Georgia Regional, according to Wynn. COVID-19 patients at the hospital are not allowed in-person visitors.
All visitors should enter the hospital through the Outpatient Entrance between 5:30 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, and between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Those visiting patients in the Women’s Pavilion may enter at that entrance.
To view the hospital’s entire COVID policy, visit eastgeorgiaregional.com.
WSAV News 3 reached out to hospitals in the Savannah area about possible plans to update visitation guidelines. Memorial Health officials say they are monitoring the situation but are not changing their visitation policy at this time.
We’ve yet to hear back from St. Joseph’s Candler about changes to their COVID policy.
Most hospitals in the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry still require masks, allow at least two guests to visit and prohibit visitors under the age of 18.
News 3 also contacted East Georgia Regional for comment about the decision to update visitation guidelines. We have not heard back yet.