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NGMC restricts visitation, prepares for more COVID-19 patients
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Northeast Georgia Medical Center Nurse Manager Leah Wallace visits the hospital's new COVID-19 Mobile Unit Thursday, March 19. - photo by Scott Rogers

Northeast Georgia Medical Center has updated its visitation policies and is preparing for additional COVID-19 patients. 

Beginning Wednesday, July 15, no visitors will be allowed at Northeast Georgia Physicians Group facilities, The Heart Center, the intensive care unit, medical surgical rooms or the emergency department. Pediatric patients can be with one parent or guardian at a time, and for labor and delivery and mother and baby rooms, one support person can be there for the length of the stay. For surgeries and procedures, one visitor is allowed in the waiting room.  For the neonatal intensive care unit, two designated band holders can visit as guidelines state.  

Waiting rooms are closed, except for visitors of surgery or procedures patients. 

Full guidelines are available on the hospital website

“All facilities will remain open as usual to provide care for patients, and we are not cancelling any surgeries, procedures or appointments at this time,” Michael Covert, chief operating officer for Northeast Georgia Health System, said in a statement. 

Covert said the health system’s emergency departments have been occasionally reaching capacity, so emergency medical tents that had been installed outside the Gainesville and Braselton hospitals are being rebuilt. 

“In order to provide emergency care and keep our wait times as short as possible, we are taking advantage of the opportunity to use the tents as an expansion of our existing emergency care space,” he said. 

Covert said the new mobile medical unit outside NGMC Gainesville’s North Tower will be operational soon. The unit was provided by the state. 

“The new unit has 20 traditional hospital beds – not ICU beds – and will be used to care for patients confirmed to have COVID-19. We are finishing some final items in the new space and plan to begin caring for patients in the unit sometime within the next week,” Covert said Tuesday. 

NGHS was treating 73 COVID-19 patients Tuesday.  

One of the rooms in the Northeast Georgia Medical Center mobile medical unit is seen Friday, May 22, in Gainesville. - photo by Nick Watson