AdventHealth changes visitation policy amid rise in COVID cases

Starting Monday, AdventHealth said it is changing its visitation policy for COVID-19 patients at all of its Central Florida facilities.

Hospital officials said the decision was made to go from in-person visits to virtual visits for positive COVID-19 patients.

Officials said exceptions will be made for children under the age of 18, obstetrics, pediatrics, and end-of-life situations.

MORE NEWS: Vaccination rates are up as new COVID cases smash record

Hospitals in Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Lake, Polk, Volusia, and Flagler Counties will have this visitation change.

AdventHealth said it will make patient experience experts available to help patients connect with loved ones virtually.

In a news release, hospital officials said the change is being made due to the increasing number of COVID patients being seen across Central Florida.

Updated AdventHealth Central Florida visitor policy (effective Aug. 2):

  • COVID-19 positive: Virtual visits
  • Non-COVID-19 patients: One visitor at a time
  • Obstetrics and pediatric patients: Two visitors at a time
  • Under 18 – COVID-19 positive patients: Two adult caregivers at a time
  • OB COVID-19 positive symptomatic — C-Section: Two visitors a day, no visitors in OR

On Thursday, AdventHealth Central Florida moved to "black status" and deferred all non-emergency surgeries at hospitals throughout Central Florida.

MORE NEWS: Florida breaks record for COVID-19 hospitalizations

"We’re taking these measures to make sure our hospitals don’t run out of space or run short of critical clinicians who are the front lines and care for our community when you need us the most," AdventHealth Central Florida Chief Nursing Officer Linnette Johnson explained.

Florida broke its record for current hospitalizations on Sunday. The record was previously set over a year ago. Right now, more than 10,200 people are hospitalized with the virus. The state leads the country in per-capita hospitalizations for the virus. 

AdventHealth said that it is hard to predict how long this surge will last but they think they will see an increase in COVID hospitalizations for the next week or two.

Watch FOX 35 Orlando for the latest Central Florida news.