Wesley, Via Christi implement no visitor policy Monday

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) Ascension Via Christi and Wesley Medical Center have increased visitor restrictions at all of their Wichita hospitals as the to protect patients and staff as COVID-19 has reached Sedgwick County and a growing number of Kansas counties.

Starting at noon on Monday, Ascension Via Christi St. Francis, St. Joseph and St. Teresa, and Ascension Via Christi Rehabilitation Hospital, no visitors will be allowed except for the following units, where one visitor will be allowed in:

● Labor and Delivery
● Newborn Intensive Care Unit
● Pediatrics
● Pre- and Post-operative Care

These visitors must meet the screening criteria being employed at the entry points, which for visitors are
limited to the main lobby, ER and, at St. Francis, second-floor entrance from the parking garage.

End-of-life visitation needs will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Everyone else is encouraged to lend
their support through the use of virtual platforms, such as Facebook or Skype.

"We appreciate the role family plays in the healing process and the importance of the presence of loved ones
during family milestones," said Sam Antonios, MD, chief medical officer for the Wichita hospitals. "However,
our first priority continues to be protecting our patients and staff and helping slow the spread of COVID-19 in
our community."

Wesley Healthcare said the said its no visitor policy would also begin on Monday at noon. This includes the following locations: Wesley Medical Center, Wesley Derby ER, Wesley West ER & Diagnostic Center and Wesley Woodlawn and ER.

Exceptions include pediatrics, the NICU and for laboring moms where one visitor will be allowed., and anyone having surgery. Out-patient surgeries who need a ride home will also be allowed one visitor.

Wesley Healthcare CEO Bill Voloch said while they hope for the best, the hospital would also start running drills to prepare for the worst.

"You’re going to see us start doing things like we may put a tent up outside our ER to prepare for that scenario. We’ve seen that all over the country. We may be drilling up on our hospital floors with additional hospital beds, signage, that type of thing," he said.

Voloch said its been a trying time for everyone in the community, especially those who work in healthcare.

"When you see someone from Wesley, or any healthcare worker, in town, they have to get groceries. They have to pick up their kids at daycare, just like everybody else, just say tell them thank you," said Voloch. "These are the heroes that are taking care of our families, of our moms, dads, our grandmas, grandpas, and we are going to need all of them to want to continue to come to work every day."