As coronavirus spreads across East Tennessee, several hospitals are changing their policies to protect patients and to prevent the virus from contaminating the facility.

Hundreds of cases have been reported across Tennessee, and that number is expected to rise as more testing resources are made available. The more people who are tested, the more cases the healthcare system will be able to catch and report to the department of health.

Several of the new hospital policies restrict people from visiting patients, with exceptions for special cases. Since hospital patients can have compromised immune systems, they are at risk of catching COVID-19.

Governor Bill Lee also signed an executive order preventing hospitals from performing elective surgical procedures, in order to free up resources needed to combat the spread of coronavirus.

Below are some hospitals which changed their policies due to the spread of coronavirus.

Tennova

Visitors are no longer allowed in the hospital until further notice.

The following special considerations will be made:

  • Visiting a loved one for end-of-life care
  • A visitor vital to the care of the patient (unique communication needs, language barriers)
  • Patients coming for surgery or testing may have one caregiver accompany them
  • Women giving birth may have one birthing partner, doula or caregiver (North Knoxville Medical Center and Newport Medical Center)

Blount Memorial Hospital

Hospital officials said it would stop performing elective surgical procedures and that it would work to reschedule ones as soon they can resume performing them.

Officials clarified that necessary procedures would continue as needed. These include any procedure that preserves life, prevents harm or is required to treat a patient's condition or disease.

RELATED: Health Department confirms 13th coronavirus case in Knox County

UT Medical Center

UT Medical Center officials said that visitors are restricted from the hospital, starting March 21. However, they also said there would be exceptions for special cases, including:

  • Visiting a loved one for end-of-life care
  • A visitor vital to the care of the patient (unique communication needs, language barriers)
  • Patients coming for surgery or testing may have one caregiver accompany them.
  • Women giving birth may have one support person (partner, doula or caregiver) for the length of her stay.
  • Babies in the NICU may have one visiting parent.

They also said that visitors who are allowed in will only be able to enter through four entryways. 

  • Boling Pavilion (located off of Flag Circle) – Open 24/7
  • Hallway from Emergency Department into the hospital – Open 24/7
  • Main Heart Hospital (located off of Fountain Circle) – Open Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. -5 p.m.
  • Hallway from Medical Office Building C crossover and Medical Office Buildings A and F – Open Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. - 5 p.m.

All visitors must be at least 16 years old. Anyone allowed in to visit a patient will be asked about their relationship with them, as well as their travel history and any symptoms they may have of coronavirus.

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Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center

Starting March 21, Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center will not allow visitors into the building. There are exceptions though, and anyone allowed into the building will need to enter through the main lobby entrance off Clinch Avenue, the Trustees Tower garage entrance or the emergency entrance off Laurel Avenue between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Between 5 p.m. and 10 a.m., all visitors will need to enter through the emergency entrance off Laurel Avenue. Special exceptions include:

  • Visiting a loved one for end-of-life care
  • A visitor vital to the care of the patient
  • Patients coming for surgery or testing may have one caregiver accompany them
  • Women giving birth may have one birthing partner, doula, or caregiver

RELATED: 667 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Tennessee

Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge

Visitors are restricted from entering the facility, starting March 21. Exceptions include: 

  • Visiting a loved one for end-of-life care
  • A visitor vital to the care of the patient
  • Patients coming for surgery or testing may have one caregiver accompany them
  • Women giving birth may have one birthing partner, doula, or caregiver

Anyone allowed into the building will need to use the main lobby or emergency department entrance. This includes limited access from the parking garage.

East Tennessee Children's Hospital

The hospital began limiting the number of visitors who could visit patients at once. As of March 24, only one parent or guardian critical to patients' treatment can visit.

Nobody under the age of 16 and nobody with any kind of illness can visit patients. The hospital is also asking parents to notify hospital staff if patients' have any kind of respiratory illness.

Patients and visitors will be asked about any health issues they may have, as well as their travel history. After 9 p.m., visitors will need to enter the hospital through the emergency department. Visitors will be given a colored sticker to alert staff that they have been screened and cleared to enter the building.

Officials are also asking people to call ahead if they plan on going to the hospital for COVID-19 testing. Medical staff will meet them with personal protective equipment before entering the building.