TidalHealth officials announced Wednesday that patient visitation is being suspended temporarily on Monday, Dec. 27, at both TidalHealth Peninsula Regional in Salisbury and TidalHealth Nanticoke in Seaford.
At the same time, there will also be a temporary pause at both hospitals of elective, non-emergency surgeries that require an overnight stay.
“A spike in Covid-19 cases, other seasonal illnesses and the many health needs of our communities, coupled with unprecedented workforce constraints have come together to create a perfect storm for healthcare providers,” said Dr. Sarah Arnett, Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer at TidalHealth. “We are taking these steps for the safety of our patients and our health care team.”
To protect patients, although visitation will be open until Dec. 27, do not visit patients at either hospital if you have symptoms of Covid-19 or any illness. Community spread of Covid-19 is high, so consider carefully whether visitation is safe for loved ones in the hospital.
A directive from the state of Maryland, a sharp increase in Covid-19 rates, high patient volumes and demand for hospital beds at TidalHealth led to the decision to pause certain surgeries. While the state of Delaware has not issued a similar directive, Covid-19 admissions and the strain caused by the census at TidalHealth Nanticoke made it necessary for the Seaford hospital to follow the same surgical reduction plan as the Salisbury hospital.
“The Covid-19 omicron variant and the continued presence of the Delta variant are driving high rates of transmission and hospitalization,” said Steve Leonard, TidalHealth President and CEO. “Getting vaccinated can reduce the severity of illness and the risk of transmission and will help take the pressure off our extremely busy facilities.”
A multidisciplinary clinical team is evaluating all non-emergency, non-life-threatening surgeries requiring an overnight stay and those that can be postponed will be. Patients affected by the pause are being notified ahead of time by their surgeon’s office. Any questions should also be directed to that surgical practice.
The pause will remain in place until Maryland Covid-19 hospitalizations fall below the 1,200 mark in accordance with Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s directive. TidalHealth will continuously evaluate the current staffing and capacity issues so that this suspension of visitation and elective surgeries requiring an overnight stay can be lifted as soon as it’s safe to do so.
The visitation policy will also be revisited. Exceptions to the current no-visitors policy will include end-of-life visitation and disabled people who need a support person, as well as Labor & Delivery/Mother-Baby patients, who may have one support person with them at all times (one designated person the whole time) as well as a doula who has been through the approval process.