Nuvance Health, which runs Danbury, Norwalk, New Milford and Sharon hospitals, announced Wednesday it will temporarily pause visitation for most patients to limit the spread of COVID-19.
The hold on visitation, which goes into effect Thursday, applies to inpatient hospital units, emergency departments, ambulatory services and medical practices run by the organization, Nuvance said through a press release.
The nonprofit organization also runs hospitals in New York state along with other medical practices.
The move comes as cases and hospitalizations for COVID-19 have surged, driven by the delta variant now rampant across the United States.
“This is a very important way to limit the risk of possible exposure to COVID-19 to you, your loved ones and the community,” said Stephen Meth, Chief Experience Officer for Nuvance Health, in a statement.
A spokeswoman for Nuvance said Wednesday there were two dozen patients hospitalized for COVID-19 across the organization’s four Connecticut hospitals. Twelve were reported at Danbury Hospital, eight at Norwalk Hospital, and four at Sharon Hospital.
The visitation pause does not apply to all patients. Those under the age of 21, patients in neonatal intensive care units and maternity departments will still be allowed visitors.
The pause also does not apply to end-of-life patients and those with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
Statewide, 321 patients were hospitalized for COVID-19 as of Tuesday, according to state figures.
All eight of the state’s counties meet the threshold where the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people should begin wearing masks indoors again regardless of vaccination, based on community spread of the virus. All but Litchfield, Tolland and Windham counties are considered areas with “high” community transmission, according to the CDC.
New Milford and Sharon hospitals both reside in Litchfield County, while Norwalk and Danbury hospitals are in Fairfield County— considered an area of high transmission by the CDC.
As of last week, 39 towns are considered red zones for spread of the virus, according to the state’s color-coded map, which is based on the number of cases per 100,000 over the past two weeks. None of Nuvance’s hospitals currently sit in red zone cities, with only Norwalk painted in orange, meaning there were between 10 and 14 cases per capita over the prior two weeks. Danbury is at yellow, the second-lowest tier, while Sharon is marked in gray, the lowest tier.
Dana Marnane, director of public relations and communications for Yale New Haven Health, said Wednesday that the system is discussing whether changes need to be made to visitation policies.
The surge of cases has prompted a flurry of local mask mandates, after Gov. Ned Lamont allowed municipal leaders to issue local mask mandates through executive order earlier this month.
In Danbury, Mayor Joe Cavo said Tuesday he was pleased that five surrounding towns agreed to implement local mask mandates alongide the Hat City, saying he believed doing so would work better as a “regional approach.”
“Hopefully this is not going to be a long term thing,” he said during a phone interview.