By HEATHER WALTERS
Colleton Medical Center now has extended visitor hours for its patients.
The new visitor hours began on Monday, March 29th. They allow visitors to see patients from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The hospital is also adjusting its current COVID-19 patients to allow virus-free patients to have an increased number of visitors. Starting on Easter Sunday, April 4th, all patients at Colleton Medical Center who do not test positive for COVID-19 will be allowed to have two visitors at a time.
Prior, the hospital only allowed visitors from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and hospital patients were only allowed one guest at a time during visitation hours.
According to Christan Spires, spokeswoman for Colleton Medical Center, hospital officials have loosened its regulations surrounding its visitation policy amid the virus for three main reasons: there is a reduction of positive COVID-19 cases in Colleton Medical Center, there is an overall reduction of positive cases in Colleton County and more people are getting vaccinated against the respiratory virus.
“We feel we can safely make these changes due to our current COVID-19 positive caseload, vaccine availability, and continued hand hygiene and universal masking procedures taken within the hospital,” she said.
Colleton Medical Center will continue to screen its patients for COVID-19 upon entry into the hospital. Guests must also wear masks inside the hospital and use proper hand-hygiene procedures.
The change in policy comes as more people in South Carolina are getting vaccinated.
Since South Carolina entered its Phase1B of the vaccination plan on March 8th, officials are reporting that 419,816 first-time doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to state residents, according to S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).
Statewide, more than 1.6 million people have received their first doses of the vaccine.
Collectively, nearly 1.8 million doses of the vaccine have been given to South Carolina residents. This includes the second-dose of the two-part vaccine. (See related story in this issue).