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Everyone who enters Saint Michael’s Medical Center is screened with a non-contact thermal scanning process.

NEWARK, NJ – Saint Michael’s Medical Center today announced that it is reinstating patient visitation effective immediately in light of the decreasing number of COVID-19 cases in New Jersey.

The hospital severely restricted visitors in March in an effort to protect patients and staff from COVID-19 as the virus began spreading through New Jersey. At the peak of the pandemic on April 14, more than 8,000 patients were hospitalized in the state.

Since then, the number of new cases has dramatically declined along with hospitalizations. As of July 6, 491 patients with COVID-19 were in New Jersey hospitals.

“Our first priority is patient safety,” said Dr. Alan Sickles, the chief operating officer of Saint Michaels. “With the declining numbers of COVID-19 cases we are seeing across the state, we felt we could safely reinstate visitation at this time.”

Visitors to Saint Michael’s must abide by the guidelines from the New Jersey Department of Health, including:

All visitors must be 18 years of age or older, except in rare exceptions as determined by the facility.
Adult Inpatient Acute Care Units: one visitor per patient at a time is permitted between the hours of 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.-8 p.m.
Emergency Department: one visitor per patient is permitted at any time for adult patients. Two parents or guardians are permitted at any time where the patient is a minor.
Behavioral Health Adult Units: no visitors permitted until further notice.
Same day surgery or procedure patients may have one support person prior to and after the procedure. The support person may remain with the patient through the initial intake process and may rejoin the patient for the discharge process.
Outpatients may be accompanied by one adult. Visitors may wait for the patient in the hospital or facility’s designated waiting area (subject to physical space availability), while the patient is having his/her procedure.
All visitors must pass through a hospital screening station upon entering the building, use hand sanitizer and wear a surgical mask while inside the facility. If a visitor presents with fever or symptoms, they will not be allowed entry into the facility as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Visitation for patients with confirmed COVID-19 will still be restricted to extenuating circumstances only such as hospice or end of life.

Saint Michael’s requires that all physicians, employees, patients, visitors, caregivers and contractors undergo non-contact thermal scanning process upon entering the hospital. This measure is part of the hospital’s ongoing efforts to provide and maintain a safe environment. The hospital also continues to ask screening questions of anyone entering its building.

Visitors and staff are required to wear a mask in common areas of the hospital.

“The safety of our staff and patients is paramount and thermal scanning adds another layer of protection,” said Nancy Bisco-Flora, the chief nursing officer of Saint Michael’s “Non-contact thermal scanning is a quick process and will be performed in addition to the COVID-19 healthcare screening questions.”

All visitors must perform hand hygiene before visiting a patient and once in the hospital or facility, visitors shall remain in the patient’s room (or Emergency Department bay) as much as possible throughout the visit, except when directed by hospital or facility staff to leave during aerosol-generating procedure or other procedures in which visitors are usually asked to leave.

Saint Michael’s has developed policies and procedures to prioritize and ensure the health and safety of all patients, visitors and staff in preventing the spread of COVID-19. The hospital follows CDC protocols for cleaning and disinfecting all patient care and treatment areas. Rooms are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between patients.

Saint Michael’s, which is a member of Prime Healthcare, has been awarded a grade of A in patient safety from the Leapfrog Group for the last four consecutive periods and a Patient Safety Excellence Award from Healthgrades for the last two years in a row.

Since May 27, Saint Michael’s has resumed patient care services to continue to safely and reliably serve its surrounding communities and provide care for all patients.

“Patients should no longer delay care which can put them at increased health risks,” Bisco-Flora said. “Through a thoughtful and structured approach and following adherence to all public health guidance and regulatory policies, Saint Michael’s is able to meet the needs of our patients.”