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Healthcare workers move a patient in the COVID-19 Unit at United Memorial Medical Center. Photo Credit: Mark Felix | Getty Images
Healthcare workers move a patient in the COVID-19 Unit at United Memorial Medical Center. Photo Credit: Mark Felix | Getty Images

NJ hospitals place ‘visitation restrictions,’ PA requests FEMA assistance amidst COVID surge

Attempts to stop the spread are mounting up and some hospitals are asking for help. 

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New Jersey and surrounding area residents are being asked to pause hospital visitations with limited exceptions as COVID cases keep rising.

This news may come as difficult to hear for family and friends who find comfort in being present with their loved ones.

However, the New Jersey Hospital Association released an update to its visitation policy on Wednesday, Dec. 29, saying all hospitals in the region have entered level red as a precaution to reduce the spread of COVID.

A “level red” indicates that no visitors will be permitted in NJ hospitals with “pediatrics, labor and delivery, end of life patients, and patients with developmental or cognitive impairment” as the only exceptions. 

New Jersey has seen COVID hospitalization increase to 47% in the final week of 2021. Yet, hospitalizations remain relatively low compared to December 2020 numbers.

Hospitals request support

In Philadelphia, some hospitals already implemented a no visitor policy for patients and allow one to two relatives or friends with exceptions.

Hospitals in PA have also expressed concern for admitting more patients, with some hitting max occupancy and no additional beds to use. Others face a shortage of nurses and staff.

Gov. Tom Wolf issued a request on Tuesday to bring in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) strike teams to PA hospitals.

“The federal government has responded to Governor Wolf’s request for additional support for Pennsylvania’s health care system and we are now meeting with them daily to finalize support plans,” Acting Secretary of Health Keara Klinepeter said.

The exact locations the FEMA strike teams will be sent out to will be determined by each region’s critical condition.

Hospitals and healthcare professionals are in desperate need of all the support they can get. Another spike in cases has taken a toll on the nation’s health system both mentally and physically, as staff continue to share their stories of burnout.

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