As COVID cases surge in New Jersey, the state's hospitals are again severely restricting patient visitation.

The New Jersey Hospital Association has urged it's member hospitals to ban all visitation with few exceptions like pediatric and end-of-life patients.

"That's a necessary precaution as the daily increase in COVID-19 cases reaches a new high in New Jersey," reads a statement on the NJHA website, "We are sympathetic to patients and their loved ones that want to visit in the hospital."

However, the association notes hospitals in all regions of New Jersey have entered “level red” in their visitation precautions, which limits who can enter a hospital facility in order to prevent COVID infections from spreading.

We are sympathetic to patients and their loved ones that want to visit in the hospital. We know that support is very important. These guidelines aim to balance that with our overarching priority – and that is to protect our patients, visitors and healthcare workers from COVID transmission. Additional information, including details of hospitals’ visitation precautions, are available at /coronavirus/hospital-visitation-codes/ or on hospitals’ websites. - New Jersey Hospital Association

New Jersey's largest hospital group, RWJBarnabas Health, has already announced a visitor ban until further notice. It covers visitation at all hospital and healthcare facilities including inpatient acute care, Emergency Departments, Behavioral Health and outpatient services.

Hackensack Meridian Health also announced new visitation policies in line with what the NJHA has advised. Visitation is by appointment only and is restricted to pediatric, end-of-life, and maternity patients. All visitors must make an appointment, but fully vaccinated and provide a negative COVID test.

HMH website
HMH website

Hospitals have been dealing with a surge in new patients coming in with severe COVID illness. Hospitalizations topped 3,200 on Wednesday with 514 patients in intensive care and 261 on ventilators.

At the same time, they are dealing with staffing shortages due to infected members of the hospital staff. Hackensack Meridian reported 600 staffers have been infected and forced to isolate statewide.

St. Peter's Hospital in New Brunswick has closed their drive through COVID testing site this week because they needed to divert staff and equipment to the emergency room to deal with an influx of COVID patients.

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