HCA Houston Healthcare restricts visitors at 13 hospitals due to coronavirus cases

HOUSTON – HCA Houston Healthcare announced Friday that they will be restricting the number of visitors at 13 hospitals in the Houston area due to the new coronavirus.

The new initiative to go into effect on Monday was decided to help safeguard staff and patients at each facility.

Here are the following hospitals included in the restriction:

  • HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake
  • HCA Houston Healthcare Conroe
  • HCA Houston Healthcare Kingwood
  • HCA Houston Healthcare Mainland
  • HCA Houston Healthcare Medical Center
  • HCA Houston Healthcare North Cypress
  • HCA Houston Healthcare Northwest
  • HCA Houston Healthcare Pearland
  • HCA Houston Healthcare Southeast
  • Texas Orthopedic Hospital
  • HCA Houston Healthcare Tomball
  • HCA Houston Healthcare West
  • The Woman’s Hospital of Texas

“While we understand the importance of in-hospital patients having friends, family and loved ones by their side, this measure is a necessary step in order to protect our patient and colleagues,” said Dr. Mujtaba Ali-Khan, chief medical officer of HCA Houston Healthcare.

The restriction is effective immediately until further notice.

How many visitors are allowed?

HCA Houston Healthcare hospital will allow two visitors at a time per patient. Officials said visiting hours are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The new rules will allow one visitor to stay overnight with laboring mothers, NICU and pediatric patients.

They said all visitors will be screened by answering a series of questions about their recent travel history.

HCA Houston Healthcare said each hospital will have a separate entrance for employees.

“Our best advice is to limit visitation during this time,” Ali-Khan said.

What are other hospitals doing?

Houston Methodist said it’s not changing its visitor policy or screening visitors, but will if necessary. Houston Methodist said it established a plan to use to determine who should be tested when there is a suspected COVID-19 case.

People who have been possibly exposed to coronavirus, have symptoms such as coughing, fever or traveled to high-risk countries can call their primary care doctor’s office or contact a Houston Methodist practitioner through virtual urgent care visits. Houston Methodist’s goal is to keep patients who do not need COVID-19 screening out of its emergency rooms.

Houston Methodist encourages its patients to be vigilant and protect themselves by following these basic steps:

  • Practice good hygiene
  • Use alcohol-based sanitizers when soap and water are not available
  • Use disposable tissues when coughing and sneezing; dispose of carefully and promptly. If tissues are not available, direct your cough or sneeze into the crook of your arm/sleeve
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has cold or flu-like symptoms
  • Avoid live animal markets and contact with live or dead farm or wild animals
  • Thoroughly cook meat and eggs before consumption
  • Maintain healthy habits that support your immune system

About the Author: