Alert

UNC Health Enacts Heightened Restrictions for Facility Visitors, Vendors, Volunteers and Students

Community events, activities and meetings hosted at UNC Health facilities are canceled until further notice

Due to the growing spread of coronavirus / COVID-19 in North Carolina, UNC Health announced today that it is enacting stricter restrictions for visitors, vendors, volunteers and students at its facilities across the state, including outpatient facilities and clinics.

NOTE: These changes will be implemented locally based on each facility’s configuration and resources.

PLEASE NOTE: No visitor, vendor, volunteer or student with fever, cough, cold or flu-like symptoms should enter any UNC Health facility. Personal masks will not be provided. These visitor restrictions may be tightened further as the COVID-19 situation evolves.

Visitors

UNC Health is committed to patient-centered, safe care throughout all of our hospitals and health care facilities. Due to the growing spread of coronavirus / COVID-19 in North Carolina, and to limit the risk of exposure for patients, caregivers, and employees, UNC Health will be enacting more stringent restrictions for visitors at its facilities.

Effective 3/23/2020, no visitors will be permitted in any inpatient areas at UNC Health (UNC Medical Center, UNC REX, Chatham Hospital, UNC Hillsborough and Johnston Health) until further notice, with the exceptions noted below:

One visitor will be allowed in inpatient areas for:

  • Pediatric patients
  • A laboring mother
  • Inpatients receiving discharge instructions
  • Patients within 24 hours following a surgery or invasive procedure

The number of visitors for end-of-life situations will be determined on a case-by-case basis. In some cases, a caregiver may be allowed for patients where a family member or significant other is essential to patient care. These decisions will be made by the care team. No visitors under the age of 18 will be allowed to visit for the foreseeable future. Visitors who are over 65, pregnant or immunocompromised are discouraged from visiting.

Outpatient Clinics/Outpatient Departments/Emergency Department: 

One companion will be allowed with each patient in the Emergency Department and with each patient during an outpatient/clinic appointment at UNC Medical Center, UNC Faculty Physicians, Chatham Hospital, Johnston Health, UNC REX, or UNC Physicians Network clinics.

Please note that some practices or services may apply further visitor restrictions. This is to protect the health of patients with complex or high-risk medical conditions. UNC Health allows providers to make these final decisions.

Additional restrictions are as follows:

  • The number of entrances to the hospital will be limited. All visitors and patients, including vendors and contractors, will be screened at designated entry points, including the Emergency Department.
  • Any visitors who are allowed must pass a health screening. Visitors should not visit our campuses if they have one or more of the following symptoms—fever, cough or shortness of breath—or have come into contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days.
  • Patients under COVID-19 investigation may not have any visitors, unless compassionate care is approved.

These restrictions have been put in place to protect everyone’s safety. The best scientific data and expertise inform us that “social distancing” is an essential element in successful efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19. We must do our part to support these guidelines and remain a good community partner. We also encourage you to use electronic communication for “virtual visitation,” such as FaceTime and Skype, in place of in-person visitation wherever possible. We appreciate your understanding at this time.

Vendors/Contractors

Only vendors and contractors who are essential to patient care and business operations will be allowed onsite on an as-needed basis. Vendors and contractors who do not directly support patient care and critical business operations should work remotely and will not be allowed in UNC Health facilities until further notice. Vendors and contractors may be subject to health screening at any time prior to entry or while onsite at any UNC Health facility.

Volunteers

Volunteers are extremely important to the function of UNC Health hospitals and clinics, but it is equally important to protect the health of those volunteers and the people with whom they come in contact. Volunteers who do not directly support patient care activities or essential business operations should not report to UNC Health facilities until further notice. These volunteers should follow the same requirements as UNC Health employees. Volunteers age 65 and older, and those with underlying health conditions are discouraged from participating in their volunteer roles at this time.

Students

UNC Health is an academic health system that values the mission of educating a health workforce for North Carolina and beyond.  As we face the challenge of COVID-19, the education mission is clearly secondary to the primary mission of caring for the patients and populations we serve. Students are allowed in the clinical setting with the following expectations:

• Students must comply with all employee expectations regarding their own risk of illness.

• Students must meet all course expectations for professional behavior and clinical competence expected for their level of training.

• Students not adding value in the clinical setting may be dismissed by their clinical supervisors.

• Personal protective equipment is in short supply and therefore must be prioritized to those directly providing clinical care.

• At this point in time, we do not expect students to participate in the care of known COVID-19 patients.

• As the situation changes, these guidelines may change.

Students who do not provide clinical services should not visit UNC Health hospitals until further notice unless they are deemed necessary for essential business operations. 

“As the COVID-19 situation evolves, we felt it was important to tighten access to our hospitals and clinics,” explained UNC Health CEO Dr. Wesley Burks. “Our top priority is to ensure the safety and welfare of patients, their families, and our incredible staff. While restricted access to our facilities will cause some inconvenience, we know it is in the best interest of our entire state.”

In addition to the restrictions outlined above, community events, activities, and meetings hosted at all UNC Health campuses also are canceled until further notice.

Headquartered in Chapel Hill, UNC Health is comprised of 11 hospitals across 13 hospital campuses and hundreds of clinic locations from Hendersonville to Jacksonville. Its hospitals / physician group include:

If You Have Symptoms of Coronavirus

If you are concerned you have been exposed or have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), click the Coronavirus Help tab on the bottom of the page. This will bring up our coronavirus symptom checker that will lead you through some questions to determine if you need medical follow-up. You can also call your primary care provider. Do not go to your doctor’s office or an urgent care without first determining if further medical screening is necessary.

If you are having difficulty breathing, call 911 or seek immediate treatment.