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BOONE — Effective June 10, each patient at Appalachian Regional Healthcare System facilities, including Watauga Medical Center and Cannon Memorial Hospital, will be allowed one designated visitor to accompany them during their hospital stay between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

The designated visitor must be the same person for the duration of the patient’s hospital stay, and another visitor cannot be substituted if the designated visitor is unable to come on any given day. The designated visitor is encouraged to bring any required medication and personal hygiene items with them.

“We are closely monitoring those coming in and out of our facilities to ensure the utmost safety for our patients and staff,” said Amy Crabbe, chief operating officer for ARHS.

Patients and visitors should enter Watauga Medical Center through the Emergency Entrance for temperature check and visitor registration.

Each designated visitor must:

  • Be age 13 or older.
  • Have their temperature checked by ARHS staff at the facility entrance.
  • Bring their own face covering and wear it at all times.
  • Stay at the facility in the patient’s room.

Visitors may not come and go from the facility multiple times in a day. Once here, they should remain here for the duration of the approved visit. Upon leaving, visitors will not be able to return until the next day, or receive special permission of the house supervisor on duty.

Visitors should not be in common areas such as hallways and waiting rooms. Cafeterias are closed for visitors; however, the visitor may request a complimentary guest tray for each meal from the patient’s nurse.

“ARHS values family members and caregivers as part of each patient’s care team,” said Crabbe. “We feel it’s important, with necessary safety precautions, to allow a visitor to support each patient during their stay.”

For more information about ARHS and its response to COVID-19, visit apprhs.org/covid19.

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