Saratoga Hospital on Friday started to bar visitors from its medical facilities, citing a rise in COVID-19 cases as driving the no-visitors policy.
“Due to the rising rates of COVID-19 infection in our community, Saratoga Hospital has adopted a ‘no visitors’ policy,” the hospital said in announcing the policy. “Keeping the number of people in the building to a minimum will help protect patients and staff.”
The hospital said it would make “compassionate exemptions” on a case-by-case basis.
The new policy comes as COVID-19 cases increase across Saratoga County and the broader region. Transmission levels in the county have reached “high” levels, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The county recorded a dozen hospitalizations and nearly 300 active cases as of Thursday, according to county data. Approximately 40 people have tested positive for COVID in the county each day this week.
County health officials earlier this week urged residents to get vaccinated, noting that the county’s vaccination levels – about 70 percent of residents have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine – were helping to blunt what would otherwise be a more severe increase in cases.
“The main message is the vaccine and vaccine coverage is doing what it was designed to do, which is prevent hospitalizations, severe illness and death,” Saratoga County Health Commissioner Dr. Daniel Kuhles said at a press conference Wednesday. “The data is showing that vaccines remain the most effective tool in our battle against COVID.”
The hospital’s new no visitors policy would impact numerous facilities and all of the hospital’s affiliated primary care and speciality offices. The no visitors policy applies to the Alfred Z. Solomon Emergency Center, Urgent Care-Wilton, Urgent Care-Adirondack in Queensbury, Malta Med Emergent Care and all of Saratoga Hospital Medical Group’s primary care and specialty offices.