Hospitals in the Columbia area are updating their visitor guidelines due to the surge in COVID-19 cases and the omicron variant. 

MU Health Care

On Monday, MU Health Care announced it will be limiting visitors in its facilities once again. These tightened restrictions are due to increasing COVID-19 cases, according to a news release. 

The new guidelines took effect Monday. 

According to the release, adult patients are allowed one specific visitor at University Hospital, Missouri Orthopaedic Institute, Missouri Psychiatric Center and Women’s and Children’s Hospital. 

Visitors are not allowed for adult COVID-19 patients or those in urgent care.

Up to two parents or guardians are allowed for pediatric patients in MU Health Care facilities.

Emergency patients, people attending clinic visits and those undergoing same-day surgery are limited to one visitor. 

MU Health Care eased its visitor restrictions in November when COVID-19 cases were low. Up until Monday, two visitors were allowed for adult patients, according to previous Missourian reporting.

Visiting hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily at all MU Health Care facilities, excluding Missouri Psychiatric Center, which is 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily. 

Visitors for most facilities must be 16 years of age or above. Missouri Psychiatric Center visitors are required to be at least 18.

Boone Hospital Center

Effective Wednesday, patients at Boone Hospital Center are only allowed one visitor per day, according to a news release. 

Two visitors are allowed for neonatal intensive care patients. Patients who are at the end of life are allowed two visitors at a time. A total of four people are permitted to see the patient, but only two people can go at a time. 

Patients and visitors will also be required to wear medical grade masks at Boone. These will be provided. According to the news release, medical grade masks are better at protecting individuals from the omicron variant versus cloth masks. 

Boone also reminded the public to not use their emergency department for routine COVID-19 testing. If one is in need of testing, they can go to any of Boone's outpatient lab locations with a provider's order. 

Truman Veterans’ Hospital

Truman Veterans' Hospital is also only allowing one visitor per patient, unless a patient is positive for COVID-19. 

Visitors will be screened for illness when entering the building. Anyone showing COVID-19 symptoms are not permitted into the facility, according to an email from Truman VA. 

Medical grade masks will also be required for all visitors, patients, staff, contractors and volunteers. The hospital will provide these.  

Visiting hours are noon to 8 p.m. everyday. 

High levels of hospitalizations

Boone County hospitals’ status is currently yellow, meaning they are continuing operations at standard capacity but are delaying non-emergent transfers or procedures. 

As of Tuesday morning, there are of 90 COVID-19 patients at MU Health Care.

Boone Health Center had 41 COVID-19 patients as of Monday evening. Ben Cornelius, spokesperson for Boone Health, said in an email that the hospital is experiencing high volumes of COVID-19 patients, along with staff members out.

The same evening, Truman VA had 21 COVID-19 patients. Jeff Hoelsher, public affairs officer for Truman VA, said in an email that vaccination statuses are a big concern right now. A majority of COVID-19 inpatients are unvaccinated. 

A total of 142 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in the county’s hospitals Monday, according to Boone County’s COVID-19 information hub. This number is comparable to the amount of hospitalizations during the summer, when the delta variant caused a surge in cases. 

For more COVID-19 related news, see our section dedicated to COVID-19 updates.
  • General Assignment Reporter, Winter 2021-22 Studying journalism and sociology Contact me: mikaelaschlueter@mail.missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at 573-882-5720

  • Cameron Barnard is an assistant city editor and copy editor for the Columbia Missourian. You can reach him in the newsroom at 573-882-5720 or on Twitter @Cameron_Barnard.

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