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Atlantic General Announces Visitor Policy Changes In Response to COVID-19

Berlin, Md.As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread, Atlantic General Hospital (AGH) is taking all necessary steps to protect and care for our patients, visitors, associates, medical staff and community. We are following protocols from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and working with experts from across the state and within our county to keep our community safe and informed.

In order to protect patients, caregivers and visitors, AGH is implementing changes to our visitor policy. As this is a rapidly evolving situation, these changes are in effect beginning March 20th until further notice.

Highlights of the Enhanced Patient Safety Policy include:

•No visitors for inpatients will be permitted.

•One adult visitor is allowed per patient for Emergency Room visits and must remain with the patient.

•No visitors under age 18 are permitted to visit the hospital, including all waiting areas and common spaces. This also applies to clinics, urgent care facilities and physician offices with the exception of pediatric providers.

• Visitors will be screened for flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) and will not be permitted to visit the hospital if symptoms are present.

•Visitors who have travelled internationally may not visit for 14 days after arrival into the United States.

•RediScripts will remain open for patient refills. Please see our web-site for instructions.

“The coronavirus poses several challenges, including potential spread of the virus to patients and staff by those with asymptomatic or mild infection,” said Sally Dowling, MD, chief medical officer for AGH. “Enacting these changes to visitation is consistent with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding response to the coronavirus.”

“These enhanced visitor limitations are designed to protect the health and safety of the public, our staff and our patients, now that there are confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Maryland,” said Dowling.

Certain exceptions to the policy may be made in particular circumstances and with prior approval including:

•For end-of-life care

•Required caregivers

•Two parents/caregivers of pediatric patients will be permitted as long as neither adult has flu-like symptoms.

In addition to the changes outlined above and under the recommendation of infection prevention experts, AGH is also indefinitely suspending all animal therapy.

AGH experts urge the public to practice vigilant hand hygiene, follow respiratory etiquette (cover mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing), maintain social distances when possible and avoid shaking hands. These strategies are fundamental to protecting our caregivers, patients and the community.

Patient and Community FAQs

I am scheduled for surgery at Atlantic General Hospital. Will my surgery continued as planned?

For the health and safety of our community, patients and caregivers, all non-urgent, non-emergent procedures are being postponed beginning Tuesday, March 17th. This follows the US Surgeon General’s recommendation to allow for a potential increase in COVID-19 patient volume. This action is designed to provide additional capacity for the hospitals to treat those patients in greatest need. Patients will be contacted by their provider’s office to postpone their elective procedure, if it is non-urgent or non-emergent.

I have an appointment or services scheduled at an Atlantic General Hospital or with an Atlantic General Health System Provider. Should I cancel it?

No. You should come to your appointment as scheduled, unless you are exhibiting any signs of cold or flu-like symptoms, in which case you should call your provider’s office for further instructions.

Atlantic General Health System will be providing telehealth access for patient appointments where this type of treatment is appropriate. Patients who qualify for a telehealth appointment will be contacted to by their provider offices be provided with this option and with instructions for this appointment.

What should I do if I have some cold or flu symptoms and I have an upcoming appointment at Atlantic General Hospital or with an Atlantic General Health System provider?

If you are exhibiting any signs of cold- or flu-like symptoms, like a cough or runny nose, you should reschedule your appointment for the health and safety of those around you. If you feel like you need to keep your appointment, please call in advance to discuss with your doctor's office.

I'm scheduled to attend a class at an Atlantic General Hospital. Will it be canceled?

All hospital and community events and classes have been canceled through April 30th to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

I frequently visit an Atlantic General Hospital location for other events outside of my health care, for example, the cafeteria and the chapel. Can I still continue these activities?

For your health and safety, as well as the safety of our patients and caregivers, we are not allowing outside visitors in any areas of the facility at this time. The cafeteria and chapel will only be available to those approved in the updated visitor policy.

My children usually come with me to appointments. Can I bring them?

No. Children under the age of 18 (unless they are the parent of a child) are not permitted to visit the hospital or outpatient centers during these temporary visitor restrictions. Please visit the hospital's Temporary Visitor Restrictions webpage or our social media sites for any updates.

How long will these changes in the visiting policy be in effect?

Because this is a rapidly changing situation, we cannot predict how long these restrictions will remain in place. We will maintain them as long as necessary to protect our patients, visitors and caregivers. Please see our Temporary Visitor Restrictions or our social media sites for the most up-to-date information.

If I think I have COVID-19 what should I do?

Unless you are suffering a medical emergency, please do not show up unannounced at an emergency room or other medical facility. You should speak with your healthcare provider, who can alert an emergency room so that its staff is ready with proper protective gear. If you are ill and have a mask, please wear it to your appointment.

If you have symptoms or you have been exposed to the virus, you should contact your health care provider to determine how best to isolate yourself from others and for how long.

If you live in Worcester County you can contact the Worcester County Health Department hotline at 410-632-1100 select option #8 to determine if you are a candidate for COVID-19 screening.

General information on COVID-19 is available 24/7 through Worcester Health’s Public Information Line (410-632-4321) and

These resources about COVID-19, and our response to it, will be updated regularly. Updates regarding hospital specific COVID-19 can be found at