CAMDEN, NJ — In an attempt to slow the potential spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Cooper University Health Care and Virtua will ban the majority of visitors from entering their facilities.

"To protect our patients, their loved ones, and our staff during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Cooper is instituting a temporary no-visitor policy effective Tuesday," Cooper said in a statement. "This policy applies to all Cooper facilities and locations, including Cooper University Hospital, all outpatient locations, and physician offices.

As of Monday afternoon there are at least 112 presumptive positive cases in New Jersey linked to the pandemic, two in Camden County, and two deaths reported.

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The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which would still need to confirm the cases, has also recommended against gatherings of 50 people or more throughout the US for the next 8 weeks.

Cooper said it would allow the following: Patients in hospice or end-of-life care, one visitor/support person for maternity patients, one visitor/support person for pediatric patients, one visitor/support person for an individual undergoing same-day surgery or an ambulatory procedure.

Virtua has similarly instilled a no-visitation/no-access policy for all inpatient and outpatient locations, with the exception of terminally-ill patients, laboring mothers, neonatal intensive care units, pediatric patients, and anyone serving as caregivers for patients undergoing same-day surgeries and procedures. 

Officials from Virtua said that for the limited visitors listed, “you must wash or sanitize hands prior to entering patient care areas.”

Anyone visiting Virtua that is coughing or showing other signs of illness while on hospital grounds will be asked to visit remotely. Visitors at Cooper will be screened for influenza-like illness/symptoms, and will not be permitted if they have symptoms.

The CDC has issued the following guidelines on how the virus spreads and steps to protect yourself. More information available here:

How it Spreads

  • There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
  • The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
  • The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
    • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
    • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Clean your hands often

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

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