In collaboration with the state Department of Health, Oneida Health announced today it will be lifting some of its visitor restrictions at the hospital which were initially activated in March as an effort to keep patients, residents and staff safe during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Oneida Health will begin permitting limited visitation for inpatients. New visitation policies for admitted medical/surgical patients to the hospital include:

  • A close relative (i.e. spouse or significant other, parent, child, grandparent, designated care partner) will be permitted to visit the patient
  • No more than two visitors will be allowed to visit at any one time
  • Visitation hours are limited to 1 to 5 p.m., seven days a week
  • Once in the hospital, visitors must remain in the patient’s room throughout the visit except when directed by the hospital staff
  • All visitors must be at least 18 years of age

Visitors will also be required to wear a mask, practice social distancing and proper hand hygiene and will be screened at the door for COVID-19 symptoms before entering. The hospital will also ask each visitor to provide proper identification, a valid state’s driver license or non-driver ID card, when entering the hospital’s main entrance.

“The safety of our patients, residents and staff remain our top priority,” said Oneida Health President and CEO Gene Morreale. “Our medical staff and senior leadership team has been encouraged by the findings of the state Department of Health’s pilot hospital visitation program. We recognize the positive benefits visitation can have on a patient’s recovery and are confident that we can ensure a safe environment for care while permitting expanded, but still limited visitation at the hospital during this time.”

On May 26, the state Department of Health launched a pilot hospital visitation program in 21 hospitals across the state. The results of the pilot visitation program prompted the Department of Health to recently announce statewide visitation for all able and willing hospitals beginning June 19, based on the hospitals’ ability to meet state guidelines.

Oneida Health’s previous visitor restrictions remain in place at their rehabilitation and extended care, emergency room, surgical center, maternity and all outpatient offices.

“We will continue to evaluate our visitor restrictions on an ongoing basis in collaboration with the Department of Health,” Morreale sale. “Future changes will only be adopted when it can be done in a manner that continues to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the health of our patients, staff and visitors. We thank the community for their continued cooperation in helping us provide a safe environment for patient care.”

With the expectation of increased visitors and its impact on the hospital’s personal protective equipment supply, Oneida Health is currently asking community members who are willing, to donate homemade ear-loop face masks. Homemade face masks will be used for visitors who may not be able to provide their own while allowing the hospital to maintain its inventory of purchased face mask for future patient care needs.

For more information on visitor restrictions throughout Oneida Health’s network or how to make and donate homemade ear-loop face masks, visit

By martha

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