Southeast Health will continue to require patients and visitors to wear masks for the foreseeable future as Gov. Kay Ivey’s new safer apart order goes into effect, but non-COVID patients can now have more visitors.
“Southeast Health believes that masks contribute to a safer environment and we will continue to keep our mask requirement in place beyond Friday,” Marketing Director Mark Stewart said.
Ivey is allowing the statewide mask mandate to expire Friday at 5 p.m. but is encouraging Alabamians to join her in taking personal responsibility by continuing to wear masks when appropriate.
Stewart said the hospital’s decision aligns with recommendations from the Alabama Hospital Association and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But with relaxed requirements by the state, the hospital updated its visitation policy with changes that went into effect on Friday.
Non-COVID-19 inpatients are now allowed one support person to remain with the patients at all times and a second visitor that may stay with the patients from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. However, substituting or rotating visitors is still not allowed during the day.
Patients coming to appointments in the Doctors Building are now allowed to be accompanied by one guest of any age.
The full updated visitor policy can be view at southeasthealth.org/coronavirus.
SE Health is continuing to urge people to sign up to receive their COVID-19 vaccine as the Alabama Department of Public Health opens up eligibility to all Alabamians 16 years and older.
Wyndi Thompson, COVID-19 vaccine clinic coordinator, and other hospital administrators have been setting up booths at Piggly Wiggly grocery stores to encourage participation, answer questions, and to sign people up to receive their shot.
As more become vaccinated, the hospital has had steadily declining volumes of COVID-19 positive inpatients. As of Friday, the hospital reported only 10 COVID-19 patients were currently admitted, down from 68 reported two months ago.
Sable Riley is a Dothan Eagle staff writer and can be reached at email@example.com or 334.712.7915. Support her work and that of other Eagle journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today at dothaneagle.com.