No visitors are now allowed in any hospital ward or intensive care unit containing COVID-19 patients across the Illawarra Shoalhaven.
Visitors will also not be allowed in any ward where there are patients with COVID-19 test results pending, under tighter restrictions on visitation across the district imposed today in a bid to minimise the spread of the virus.
Under the new measures, end-of life-visiting for COVID-19 patients will only be allowed under strictly enforced precautionary protocols, including supervised application of personal protective equipment as required.
The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District had jumped to 26 by midday Monday.
ISLHD chief executive Margot Mains said the increased restrictions on visitation had now been put in place following advice from the district's infectious diseases experts, and in line with Federal and State Government measures.
"We started limiting visitors to our hospitals last week, and have now increased these measures for the safety of our patients, staff and the community," she said.
"By further reducing the number of people coming into our facilities, as well as limiting visiting times, we are minimising the risk of spreading the COVID virus including to health care workers who are at the forefront of dealing with this pandemic."
She said the district was working to make iPads available so technology including Skype and Facetime may be used in lieu of physical visits.
There's also tighter restrictions on visitation for non COVID-19 patients while hospitals deal with the pandemic.
For patients on general hospital wards and non COVID-19 patients, there is a visiting time limit of one hour in total per day. There can be no more than one visitor at any given time.
In birthing and maternity wards there is a limit of one support person at a time, including during labour. No siblings will be able to visit.
And there's a limit of one parent at a time, with no time limit, in paediatrics, or children's wards. Again no siblings can visit.
However there's no visitor limit or time restriction for non-COVID-19 end-of-life patients.
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