As hospitalization numbers due to COVID-19 have hit record numbers in Alabama and the number of positive cases in Jackson County are on the rise, Highlands Medical Center has changed its visitation restrictions.

According to a press release from the hospital, the restrictions are being put in place to protect patients, their families and HMC staff.

For adults, visitation will only be allowed in compassionate situations, severely disabled patients, end of life situations, etc. There will be no ICU visitation except for special circumstances, like end of life.

Pediatric patients will be limited to two parents or caregivers for support and at bedside if the patient is having surgery. Caregivers may wait in the patient room during the procedure.

In the Labor and Delivery, Antepartum and OB Emergency Department, one support person will be allowed per patient.

There will be no visitation in the emergency room, unless it involves a pediatric patient or end of life situation.

During this time, family members and support persons may communicate with hospital staff and receive updates between the hours of 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

“We know people want to be updated about the condition of their loved ones during this unprecedented time and want to provide a designated schedule when patient updates will be shared with the appropriate family member or support person,” said Jean Ann McMurrey, chief nursing officer at the hospital. “Having a designated communication time also allows our team to prioritize care above all else throughout the day and night.”

Family members or support persons may receive communication more often based on a patient’s condition and developments during their stay.

The restrictions went into effect on Tuesday, Dec. 8.

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