Surge in Patients Prompts Some Mass. Hospitals to Tighten Visitor Restrictions

The Mass General Brigham hospital group updated its rules for visitors Wednesday as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations increase

NBC Universal, Inc.

The surge in patients at Massachusetts hospitals is leading some to tighten their visitor policies.

Mass General Brigham updated its rules Wednesday as the omicron variant of COVID-19 spreads and hospitalizations rise.

"We're trying to limit overcrowding in public spaces and in patient care spaces," said Dr. Tom Sequist, Mass General Brigham's chief medical officer.

All of the facilities in the system, including Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital, will go from two visitors to one for inpatients, effective Wednesday.

"I think it is definitely going to make a difference in our ability to avoid that overcrowding scenario," said Sequist. "And allowing people to socially distance."

The Massachusetts Nurses Association says more needs to be done and no visitors should be allowed at all in Massachusetts hospitals.

"Some days, you get down there and it looks like there's a free-for-all at the front desk with all the people that are coming in," said Jim McCarthy, a nurse at Brigham and Women's.

He says too often, visitors are not following pandemic guidelines.

"People not wearing masks correctly, they're not using the correct protocol, the six-feet distance," said McCarthy. "We think there should be a moratorium on visitors in the hospital."

The one-visitor rule brings Mass General Brigham in line with other area hospitals like Tufts and Boston Medical Center. But some hospitals have gone further.

Beth Israel and South Shore Hospital are not allowing visitors at all.

Mass General Brigham says it will continue to re-evaluate.

Exceptions can be made for support visitors, and there can be different rules in different parts of a hospital, like ICU or Labor and Delivery.

Contact Us