By The Leader staff

As the situation surrounding COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) continues to evolve, protecting its patients, as well as their loved ones, its staff and its volunteers remains Arnot Health’s highest priority.

Arnot Health has implemented new visitor and volunteer restrictions across all of its hospitals (Arnot Ogden Medical Center and St. Joseph’s Hospital in Elmira, and Ira Davenport Memorial Hospital in Bath).

Effective Monday, March 16 until further notice, the following changes will be enforced:

– Volunteer service will be suspended until further notice. Many of our volunteers fall into high-risk categories, we need to protect their health and safety during this time.

– All patients, visitors and staff will have to enter through designated entrances, as outlined below:

- Arnot Ogden Medical Center - Enter through the Main Entrance at all times except for patients (and one caregiver) who are being seen in the Falck Cancer Center, Heart & Vascular Institute, AOMC Endocrinology Office, and the IVY Clinic; those patients will enter through these specific entrances. No other exceptions will be made.

- St. Joseph’s Hospital - Enter through the Rehabilitation Services Entrance (Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy, located down the sidewalk to the right from the Main Entrance) from 6 a.m.– 6 p.m. and through the Emergency Department at all other times. The St. Joseph’s Hospital Main Entrance will be closed until further notice.

- Ira Davenport Memorial Hospital - Enter through the Emergency Department Lobby Entrance at all times.

In addition to limiting entry points to all Arnot Health hospital facilities, the following will also be in effect until further notice:

– Prior to entering, all patients, visitors and staff will be evaluated via a COVID-19 questionnaire and have a temperature check.

– Entrances for Emergency Departments will remain open for patients only.

– Visiting hours to the hospitals will be restricted to 12– 2 p.m. and 4–6 p.m.

– Visitors will be signed in and provided a visitor badge; when they leave, they will be signed out and their visitor badge will be collected.

– Only one (1) visitor will be allowed per patient, per day. This includes caregivers accompanying patients to all outpatient clinics and walk-in clinics.

– No visitors less than 18 years old.

– No visitors will be allowed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)/or Pediatric Care Unit, except for one (1) parent/guardian at one time.

These new restrictions follow our March 13 suspension of visitation to Arnot Health’s nursing home facilities at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Ira Davenport Memorial Hospital/Taylor Health Center, as per guidance from the NYS Department of Health. We are sensitive to the separations these visiting restrictions place on our visitors and their loved ones who may be in our hospitals.

We also regret that we have to suspend volunteering at our hospitals, as we have the utmost respect and appreciation for our volunteers’ service and commitment and the many contributions they make to our hospital operations. However, out of an abundance of caution, we are taking these extraordinary measures to keep everyone safe as we work with our partners at the local and state level to contain the spread of COVID-19. To that end, we are asking the community to work with us by:

– Only coming to the Emergency Department if it is a true emergency;

– If you or a loved one is not feeling well, please contact your healthcare provider for instructions prior to going to the office; and

– If you do not have a primary care provider, call Arnot’s Health on Demand phone line at (607) 737-4499 for assistance locating one.