TAMPA, Fla. -- BayCare Health Systems announced on Friday morning it's implementing new visitor restrictions at its hospitals as the number of COVID-19 cases in the state increase.
As of Friday morning, the Florida Department of Health says there are more than 40 cases.
Visitors will now be screened for signs and symptoms of COVID-19, the disease resulting from the novel coronavirus. If a visitor is deemed a risk, they will not be allowed inside and may be referred to an ER, a press release said.
Additionally, children under 18 are now restricted from visiting BayCare hospitals.
"To protect the health and well-being of all we serve, we believe it is prudent to take this step at this time," said Dr. Nishant Anand, BayCare's Chief Medical Officer.
The restrictions are intended to safeguard the health of patients, team members, physicians and the community, according to a press release.
"We appreciate the public's cooperation and regret that this may provide a hardship for our patients and their families," said Dr. Anand. "The health of our patients, team members, physicians and community is too important to not take action to counter the spread of the novel coronavirus."
BayCare says the decision didn't come lightly and encourages loved ones of patients to take advantage of applications like FaceTime to keep in touch.
The following are BayCare Health locations:
- St. Joseph's Children's Hospital, Tampa
- St. Joseph's Hospital, Tampa
- St. Joseph's Hospital – North, Lutz
- St. Joseph's Hospital – South, Riverview
- St. Joseph's Women's Hospital, Tampa
- South Florida Baptist Hospital, Plant City
- Morton Plant North Bay, New Port Richey
- Bardmoor Emergency Center, Largo
- BayCare Alliant Hospital, Dunedin
- Mease Countryside Hospital, Safety Harbor
- Mease Dunedin Hospital
- Morton Plant Hospital, Clearwater
- St. Anthony's Hospital, St. Petersburg
- Bartow Regional Medical Center
- Winter Haven Hospital
- Winter Haven Women's Hospital