Hospitals have been advised by the NYS Department of Health to suspend all visitation of patients.  There are a few exceptions to this rule:

  • Women in active labor are allowed to have ONE support person, who must remain with the laboring woman at all times. This support person may be the other parent, a spouse, a partner, or another family member.  Notably, doulas and birthing coaches are no longer considered to be merely “support persons,” and are allowed to assist the birthing mother in addition to the family/friend who is her designated support person.  All people assisting the birthing mother must be screened for COVID symptoms prior to entry into the hospital, and will be given PPE to wear during their time at the hospital.  Individuals over age 70 are not recommended to be support people due to their increased risk for contracting COVID.
  • Pediatric patients may have ONE support person at a time, who must remain with the patient or in the patient’s room at all times. The patient or patient’s family may designate two people who are authorized to be support people, but only one of these people may be with the patient at one time.  Ideally, the support person should be a parent/guardian or close family member.  The support people will be screened for COVID symptoms prior to entry and will be given PPE to wear during their time at the hospital.  Individuals over age 70 are not recommended to be support people due to their increased risk for contracting COVID.
  • Patients that are designated to need support people due to intellectual or mental disabilities (including developmentally disabled individuals, patients with dementia, etc.) may have ONE support person at a time, who must remain with the patient or in the patient’s room at all times. The patient or patient’s family may designate two people who are authorized to be support people, but only one of these people may be with the patient at one time.  The support people will be screened for COVID symptoms prior to entry and will be given PPE to wear during their time at the hospital.  Individuals over age 70 are not recommended to be support people due to their increased risk for contracting COVID.
  • Patients who are in imminent end of life situations may have ONE support person, who must remain with the patient or in the patient’s room at all times. “Imminent end of life situations” are those in which the patient is expected to die within 24 hours or less.  The patient may designate two people who are authorized to be support people, but only one of these people may be with the patient at one time.  If the dying patient is the parent of a minor child, they will be allowed to have one support person and ONE minor child with them at one time.  The support people (including minor children) will be screened for COVID symptoms prior to entry and will be given PPE to wear during their time at the hospital.  Individuals over age 70 are not recommended to be support people due to their increased risk for contracting COVID.

If the patient in question has been confirmed to have COVID or suspected to have it, their support people should be individuals who have been in close contact with them recently (such as fellow household members).  Hospitals will be posting signage in visible locations explaining these requirements.  They will also be explaining these requirements to patients as early as possible, preferably before the patient arrives at the hospital.

Elective surgeries continue to be suspended in the following counties: Bronx, Queens, Rockland, Nassau, Westchester, Kings, Suffolk, New York, and Erie.  Certain hospitals and surgical centers in these counties have received exemptions to this prohibition – please contact your physician for more details.  However, as of April 28, 2020, hospitals in other counties can resume elective surgeries if they meet the following conditions:

  • The hospital has capacity equal to or greater than 25% of the entire county’s population
  • The hospital has received less than 10 COVID admissions over the past 10 days
  • The patients having elective surgeries test negative for COVID-19.

If a hospital’s capacity falls below 25% of the county’s population or if a hospital sees 10 or more COVID admissions over a 10 day period, it must stop elective surgeries, even if they had been allowed previously.