PRINCETON, NJ – As coronavirus cases to climb across the state New Jersey’s hospitals, including St. Joseph's Health, are enacting no-visitor policies in an effort to protect patients, visitors, and staff from the further spread of the potentially fatal illness.

The move, announced Friday in a statement from the New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA), comes as state officials announced 50 confirmed cases in New Jersey, the fifth highest total in the country.

“With a growing number of cases and evidence of community transmission, the standard policy now bars visitors with some limited exceptions,” said NJHA President and CEO Cathy Bennett. “These updated guidelines are voluntary, but are informed by the support and feedback of hospital CEOs and more than 270 clinicians from hospital and post-acute facilities who joined NJHA on a conference call today."

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Bennet said that the policy seeks to be sensitive to the difficulties facing the loved ones of hospitalized patients but that healthcare facilities must keep patient and staff safety paramount as the health officials work to slow the spread of COVID-19.

According to the policy limited exceptions to the no visitor rule include for patients in hospice or end-of-life care and one visitor or support person for maternity, pediatric, or patients undergoing same day surgery or an ambulatory procedure.

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