Coronavirus

Via Christi hospitals ban visitors with few exceptions Monday over coronavirus concerns

Ascension Via Christi hospitals will ban visitors with few exceptions at its Wichita locations starting at noon Monday to protect staff and patients from the coronavirus as the disease spreads in Kansas, according to a news release from the health care organization.

The restrictions will be in place at Ascension Via Christi’s three Wichita acute-care hospitals — St. Francis, St. Joseph and St. Teresa — as well as the Ascension Via Christi Rehabilitation Hospital, 1151 N. Rock Rd.

The ban applies to all but these four areas: labor and delivery units, newborn intensive care units, pediatric units, and pre- and post-operative care units.

But in those areas only one visitor will be allowed per patient at a time, and visitors must pass screenings the hospitals have implemented at their entrances.

Visitation for end-of-life patients will be considered on a case by case basis, according to the news release. “We are already working with those families,” Ascension Via Christi spokeswoman Roz Hutchinson said by email.

The health care organization is encouraging all other family members and friends to support their loved ones using electronic means, like Facebook or Skype.

“We appreciate the role family plays in the healing process and the importance of the presence of loved ones during family milestones,” Sam Antonios, chief medical officer for the Wichita hospitals, said in a prepared statement included in the news release.

“However, our first priority continues to be protecting our patients and staff and helping slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”

Ascension Via Christi operates seven hospitals and 75 other healthcare sites in Kansas.

Amy Renee Leiker has been reporting for The Wichita Eagle since 2010. She covers crime, courts and breaking news and updates the newspaper’s online databases. You can reach her at 316-268-6644. She’s an avid reader and mom of three in her non-work time.
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