ITHACA, N.Y. — Cayuga Medical Center has announced new restrictions on visitation to its building in response to growing COVID-19 cases throughout Tompkins County, in the interest of protecting their patients and staff. The restrictions went into effect on Oct. 19 at 7 p.m.

In-patient visitation had been allowed on a limited basis starting in July, after Cayuga Health System had tweaked its visitation rules in March. The new restrictions come as a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic seems to be taking hold in Tompkins County, with a steep uptick in positive cases in October. The hospital’s announcement does not specify whether the rules also apply to Cayuga Health System’s other hospital in Schuyler County.

The new rules include that no visitors will be allowed entry to the hospital until the restrictions end, though exceptions will be made when “medically necessary,” such as for delivering babies or for family members of those facing end-of-life care; patients going to the ER may be accompanied by one support person, but may not stay with them in in-patient hospital units; and screenings will continue for everyone entering the building.

“We understand this will be difficult for some patients and apologize for the inconvenience,” the hospital said. “We encourage everyone to make use of technology such as phones and tablets, which the hospital has available for patient use, to facilitate communication with loved ones and patients in the hospital.”

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Education & Public Health Reporter at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at mbutler@ithacavoice.com