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Cone Health restricts visitors' access to the Emergency Department

Visitors are asked not to accompany others to Emergency Departments. The move is aimed at protecting staff from potential coronavirus exposure.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Visitors have been asked to not accompany patients into Cone Health's Emergency Departments, according to hospital officials.

Starting at 7 a.m. Wednesday, only people who need care would be allowed to come into a Cone Health emergency department. Friends, relatives, and others would have to wait in their car outside. There are exceptions for children and those with special needs. Only a designated support family member would be allowed with a non-cognitive patient or child, hospital officials said.

"An adult should accompany children while the child is in the emergency department. People with cognitive or behavioral needs, intellectual or developmental disabilities, or those unable to make medical decisions, may have one support person for safety, decision-making, or care concerns," a statement read.

The move is being taken to protect staff from potential coronavirus exposure. 

RELATED: Cone Health expects to vaccinate 250 employees a day after first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine arrives Thursday

“We understand how disappointing it is not being with a loved one who needs medical care,” Anne Brown said.

Brown is the executive director at Cone Health's Office of Patient Experience. 

“Unfortunately, COVID-19 has become so widespread, that we need to treat everyone as a potential carrier of the disease,” Brown said.

According to hospital officials, Cone Health’s analytics team says if someone encounters 50 people, the chances that one of them will have COVID-19 is around 80%.

Emergency department staff would be available to update those in cars about the status of their loved one, a statement said.

Cone Health said after the emergency department process, if a person is required to be admitted into the hospital and does not have COVID-19, they are allowed visitors per the visitation policy. People who are sick with the highly contagious disease are not allowed to have visitors.

Staff members have been equipped with iPads and other technology to keep them connected with loved ones, according to hospital officials.

COVID-19 patients near the end of life are also being allowed two visitors at a time.