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Knoxville hospitals change visitation policies, one visitor per patient allowed

Starting Monday, patients at Covenant Health, Tennova Healthcare and UTMC will only be allowed one designated visitor.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — After collaborating on policies to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, 3 Knoxville hospitals are changing their visitation policies to allow one visitor for the duration of patients' appointments procedures or hospital stays, according to officials.

The new policy will go into effect Monday, July 13 at Covenant Health, Tennova Healthcare and the University of Tennessee Medical Center. The policy also specifies that it must be the same patient throughout patients' time at the hospital.

Visitors will also be required to wear masks or cloth face coverings, officials said. They will also be screened for COVID-19 symptoms, which includes temperature checks.

The changes apply to all inpatient and outpatient locations and clinics, including doctors' offices. Policies at East Tennessee Children's Hospital will not change, due to the nature of the patients served there, officials said.

There a few exceptions to the change, though. Women giving birth may have two people to support them, as well as a certified doula during labor and delivery. Then, those two people can continue visiting for the remainder of her stay.

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Parents of babies in the NICU may also visit for the remainder of the infant's stay.

Some patients may not be allowed visitors at all, such as people who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who are pending test results.

Officials with the hospitals also asked the community to slow the spread of COVID-19 by following CDC guidelines. They asked people to wear masks, maintain social distancing and practice good hand hygiene.

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