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Mount Nittany Medical Center to Begin Visitation Restrictions Amid Rise in COVID-19 Hospitalizations

With COVID-19 inpatient numbers at their highest levels in two months, Mount Nittany Medical Center will restrict visitations beginning Saturday.

Patients at the medical center will not be permitted visitors. Emergency department patients can be accompanied by a caregiver or support person, “provided the patient is not a person under investigation for COVID-19, or COVID positive,” according to a Mount Nittany Health news release on Friday.

Exceptions are in place for special circumstances, such as permitting a caregiver/support person for patients of the women and children’s services department.

A multi-disciplinary team will continue to assess the visitation policy and make adjustments as needed.

“We are sensitive to the separation this restriction creates for our patients and families, but we strongly believe continuing to limit the number of people in our facilities is essential to keeping our patients and staff safe,” a statement from Mount Nittany Health said. “We encourage the use of other forms of support, like phone calls and video chats, when possible.”

Questions about visits at the medical center should be directed to 814-231-7000. For Mount Nittany Physician Group, patients should call the practice or outpatient office directly.

An increase in hospitalizations has followed an ongoing spike in new COVID-19 cases in Centre County over the past three weeks.

Mount Nittany is treating 25 COVID-19 inpatients between the ages of 28 and 90, as of Friday morning.

In March, the hospital had a total of 124 COVID positive inpatients, with an average daily census of 18 and a median patient age of 63. Between March 15 to 30, 72 people were hospitalized due to COVID-19.

The increase came after hospitalizations dropped in February with 96 COVID positive admissions, down from 211 in January.

Hospital officials have said that they are prepared to make service adjustments if necessary, including rescheduling nonessential surgeries and procedures.

“While we are taking big steps forward in our fight against COVID-19, we are not done,” Dr. Upendra Thaker, the medical center’s chief medical officer, said on Thursday. “Each of us at Mount Nittany Health ask that you please help us by continuing to avoid social gatherings, keep wearing your masks and frequently wash your hands. These measures have been proven to help stop the spread of COVID-19, and we need the entire community to do its part. We must be in this together.”