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Lifespan tightens visitor policy as COVID-19 cases increase

August 24, 2021 GMT

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island’s largest health care organization announced Tuesday it is amending its visitor policy at hospitals and ambulatory care centers in response to an increase in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Lifespan is now limiting the number of visitors per patient, and the number of family members or escorts during an emergency intake.

Patients in most settings will be allowed a single visitor at a time, up to a limit of two throughout the duration of their stay.

Some visitor policies remain unchanged, including exceptions for end-of-life care patients, and two visitors for pediatric patients. Masks are still required.

Lifespan said it “understands this is difficult for patients and their loved ones, but such measures are necessary to help protect their health and safety as well as that of our health care workers and the general public during the ongoing pandemic.”

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Lifespan operates Rhode Island, Hasbro Children’s, Miriam, Bradley, and Newport hospitals.

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HEALTH DATA

There were mixed results in the weekly metrics Rhode Island tracks to measure the spread of the coronavirus, according to state Department of Health data released Tuesday.

The state’s test positivity rate for the week that ended Saturday was down slightly to 3.4%, from 3.6% the prior week.

But new hospital admissions increased to 114, up from 111 the previous week.

And the rate of new cases per 100,000 population increased to 195 for the week that ended Saturday, from 178 the prior week.

As for the daily numbers, the department reported nearly 240 new confirmed cases and two additional virus-related deaths.

The number of patients in the hospital being treated for COVID-19 was 115, according to the latest data available, the highest single-day total since early May. Of those, 25 were in intensive care.

Nearly 678,000 people have now been fully vaccinated in the state.