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Published on December 15, 2020

Visitors Asked to Avoid Emergency Departments

The move protects staff from potential coronavirus exposure.


Beginning tomorrow (Dec. 16,) at 7 am, Cone Health asks that only those needing care come into a Cone Health emergency department. Friends, relatives and others are asked to wait in their car outside. This action is being taken to protect those who work in the emergency department as well as people who would normally accompany others. There are exceptions for children and those with special needs.

“We understand how disappointing it is not being with a loved one who needs medical care,” says Anne Brown, executive director, office of patient experience, Cone Health. “Unfortunately, COVID-19 has become so widespread, that we need to treat everyone as a potential carrier of the disease.” Cone Health’s analytics team says if someone encounters 50 people, the chances that one of them will have COVID-19 is around 80%.

Emergency department staff will update those in cars about the status of their loved one. If a person is admitted into the hospital and does not have COVID-19, they are allowed visitors per the visitation policy. People with the highly contagious disease are not allowed visitors. Staff will make every effort using iPads and other technology to keep them connected with loved ones. COVID-19 patients near the end of life are allowed two visitors.

An adult should accompany children while the child is in the emergency department. People with cognitive or behavioral needs, intellectual or developmental disabilities, or those unable to make medical decisions, may have one support person for safety, decision-making or care concerns.