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Red alert: Wellstar bars visitors as COVID cases rise

Due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in the region, Wellstar West Georgia Medical Center has changed its visitation status to “red,” meaning that no visitors or essential caregivers will be allowed into the center right now.

The change is based on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s reported number of COVID-19 cases, said Shelley Strickland, director of marketing for the Wellstar West Georgia Medical Center.  In the last two weeks, the visitation status of Wellstar has been “yellow,” Strickland said, meaning Wellstar’s positive COVID-19 case levels were elevated and that only essential caregivers or visitors were permitted in most areas of the hospital during visiting hours, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“[Visitation status] moved to red level on Tuesday,” she said. 

“Green” status means positive COVID-19 case levels are ongoing or low and that two essential caregivers or visitors are permitted in most areas of the hospital during visitor hours.

According to the CDC’s website, Troup County has added 192 new cases of COVID-19 in the last two weeks and has had a total of 6,369 cases since the start of the pandemic. The highly transmissible and contagious Delta variant is now the dominant strain in the U.S. and accounts for more than 51 percent of new COVID-19 cases in the state, the CDC’s website states. The Georgia Department of Public Health additionally reports that Troup County is “red” or high in terms of the county’s test positive classification at 15.9 percent or 1,324 positive cases in the last two weeks.

Every hospital is assigned a color reflecting its current visitation policy based on the number of active COVID-19 cases in each local community. The level of COVID-19 infections determines when and how many essential caregivers — patient advocates, family members and loved ones — can visit at this time, according to Wellstar’s website.

Visitors may still call patients, Strickland said. Visitor exceptions will be made during an “end of life” situations, she added.

If Wellstar’s visitation level changes, it will be updated on the Wellstar website at https://www.wellstar.org/locations/hospital/west-georgia-medical-center