Prisma Health has restricted patient visitation effective January 9, in the wake of a growing surge of COVID-19 infections across South Carolina.

“We know that being with families is itself a healing therapy and so we wrestled with this decision. But we believe this measure is needed in the wake of the growing post-holiday surge of COVID-19, especially given the growing community spread,” said Dr. Eric Ossmann, an emergency medicine physician who is Prisma Health’s Chief of Preparedness and leads its COVID-19 response system-wide.

Broad visitation to patient rooms is paused beginning January 9. Staff will work closely with patients and families to help keep them connected through virtual visits such as iPads and other devices.

Limited visitation may still occur in some circumstances, such as the following:

• Pediatric patients, with only one care partner allowed 24-7 except for a one-hour daily transition period in which both parents or legal guardians may be present for physician discussions and joint training.
• Obstetric patients who are pre-term, in imminent labor, laboring, high-risk and post-partum may have one care partner.
• Patients undergoing sedating procedures such as colonoscopies may have one care partner.
• Case-by-case approval is required for visitation for those requiring additional assistance from care partners, such as for patients with dementia.
• For emergency department care, the ED team will use their discretion in the interest of patient care in the treatment of children, older adults and any patients with special needs.
• Up to three visitors may be allowed in end-of-life situations.
• Patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 are not permitted to have visitation except under special case-by-case approvals.

Patients not suspected or not confirmed to have COVID-19 can receive religious service from the clergy of their choice so long as it does not disrupt their care. Patients with COVID-19 may still receive religious services, but the attending doctor should be made aware of the request.

In physician offices and ambulatory offices, visitation will be limited to one care partner for obstetric patients and oncology patients except in infusion areas. Pediatric patients are allowed one care partner, except for infants under two months of age who may be accompanied by both parents. One care partner is allowed for adults with special needs. Care partners are not allowed to accompany a patient for laboratory or radiology services unless the patient needs extra help.

All visitors will be required to undergo entry-way screening and be masked at all times while in the hospital. Care partners must remain with the patient.

Children under 18 years cannot visit except in end-of-life situations.

“Prisma Health looks forward to reopening broader visitation in the future,” said Ossmann. “Since this pandemic likely will be with us into the near future, we ask you for your continued patience as we strive to provide extraordinary care under challenging circumstances. We also ask that everyone use extra vigilance and continue to socially distance, mask and hand wash.”

For more information about COVID-19 and Prisma Health’s continued response, visit

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