Ascension Wisconsin is enacting temporary visitor restrictions at its health care facilities and encouraging patients to seek virtual care as precautions against the spread of COVID-19.
A spokesperson with the health system said it is limiting visits to two visitors per patient at one time and restricting visitors who have flu-like symptoms at both its inpatient and outpatient facilities. Visits from children under age 14 will be at the discretion of patients and clinicians.
The restrictions are similar to Ascension’s infection control precautions during flu season, the spokesperson said.
The system is also restricting visitors who have returned within the past 14 days from a country that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has designated as Level 3 Warning or Level 2 for novel coronavirus.
“We appreciate the cooperation of our visitors, patients, associates and providers to support our infection control efforts and help minimize the spread of respiratory infections and COVID-19,” the system said.
Ascension Wisconsin said it is also suspending all “non-essential” domestic and international business travel by its associates until May 3.
The system is encouraging people to do virtual urgent care visits to reduce their risk of exposure. The system offers visits with a doctor via phone or mobile device through Ascension Online Care. It is offering discounted $20 visits, and no insurance is required.
The CDC is urging people who have COVID-19 symptoms or concerns to call their provider before visiting a health care facility to allow staff to evaluate their risk and prepare for their arrival.