The Western Cape department of Health yesterday, 24 March, implemented measures to discourage residents from visiting hospitals and clinics.Natalie Watlington, principal communications officer: southern western sub-structures, says residents must stay at home to stop Covid-19 from spreading. “That also means avoiding hospitals and clinics.”To restrict contact, visitation to all Western Cape Government Health facilities will be cancelled. Non-urgent operations will also be postponed or cancelled. Patients on chronic medication will be given two month’s supply where possible. “Patients who need to seek emergency life-saving care, family planning service and antenatal care can attend their facility as well as those who have had their appointments confirmed, says Watlington. This morning, Wednesday 25 March, Netcare also sent out a statement, saying it has suspended and restricted visiting hours in light of severity of COVID-19 pandemic.As of this morning, visiting hours at Netcare hospitals have been suspended, except in specific special circumstances, as a further precaution against the spread of COVID-19, Netcare announced.“In light of the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, we needed to take extraordinary measures to protect all healthcare teams and our patients who cannot be discharged,” says Dr Richard Friedland, Netcare chief executive officer.All visiting hours for general wards, ICUs and the high care units has been suspended with immediate effect. The only exceptions are as follows:• Nurseries and neonatal intensive care units (NICUs): only one parent at a time is allowed to visit newborns in a nursery or NICU. This is on condition that the parent visiting has had no COVID-19 exposure and accepts that very strict infection prevention controls will be put in place to minimise the risks to their baby and other babies being cared for in these facilities. No grandparents and siblings will be allowed to visit.• Paediatrics: Only one parent at a time is permitted to live in with an admitted child. This parent is required to have had no COVID-19 exposure and accepts that very strict infection prevention controls will be put in place to minimise the risks to their child and other children being cared for in our paediatric facilities. No grandparents and siblings will be allowed to visit.• Gravely ill patients: an exception can be granted by the hospital general manager, as authorised by the regional director, in these instances. A minimal number of visitors will be granted this exception and they will be required to wear a mask.“We thank families and friends of patients for their co-operation with regard to these measures in this unprecedented time and for their contribution to ensuring that we keep our most vulnerable loved ones safe,” Dr Friedland concluded. If you are not sure when to seek medical care, call 021 928 4102.A statement released today, 25 March, by Mediclinic reads that, in accordance with National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) and National Department of Health protocols, it has implemented the necessary measures to manage any patients presenting with symptoms and to prevent the potential transmission of the virus in its facilities. “These measures include managing access to the hospital in the best interests of our patients and healthcare workers. We believe that allowing patients access to their loved ones is an essential part of their recovery and wellness, but that it is important to reduce the risk for all,” the statement reads. MediClinic has implemented the following temporary measures with respect to visitors with immediate effect: • Visiting hours are to be limited to the following: 15.00 – 16:00 and 19.00 – 20.00.• Strictly no more than one visitor will be allowed per bed per visiting hour in any unit. • Surgical patients may only have one individual as support on day of surgery. • Patients presenting at the Emergency Centre may only have one individual as support. • In order to better manage visitor volumes, access to our hospitals may also be restricted to only one entrance. MediClinic has states that Elective surgeries are not cancelled at this this point in time, however this decision is subject and likely to change at short notice.