South Texas Health Systems made changes to their visiting hours for its acute care facilities, effective Thursday.

The visitation changes are an easing of restrictions the hospital had implemented in March to protect patients and family members alike, according to an STHS news release.

STHS operates McAllen Medical Center, McAllen Heart Hospital, Edinburg Regional Medical Center, Edinburg Children’s Hospital and South Texas Behavioral Health Center.

“The guidelines were in-line with current city and county government efforts centered around social distancing, and were aimed at limiting exposure to any individuals who may have contracted COVID-19 and been asymptomatic,” the release stated. “While the guidelines have been eased slightly, the safety of the patients and staff at South Texas Health System’s facilities throughout Hidalgo County remains our top priority.”

Below are the visitation guidelines:

>> Adult Inpatient Units: One adult support person is allowed per day during the hours of noon to 8 p.m. not including patients in COVID-19 treatment areas.

>> Pediatric Inpatient Units: One adult support person per day and 24-hour in-room visitation is permitted. NICU visitation is subject to the neonatologist’s approval as to the number and hours of visitation.

>> Emergency Departments (STHS Edinburg and STHS Children’s campuses as well as All FEDs): One adult support person is allowed in the ER in the waiting area and in the treatment area unless otherwise restricted by the treating ER physician. Pediatric patients are allowed one support person at all times. If the patient is admitted, visitation will follow the above inpatient visitation guidelines.

>> Emergency Department (STHS McAllen and STHS Heart campuses): No visitation permitted at the bedside or in the waiting areas. One support person can accompany patients who have cognitive impairments and/or physical/mental disabilities to help with registration and medical histories as needed.

>> Labor and Delivery: One adult support person is allowed for 24 hours per day. Consideration may be given to allow a doula in addition to the one visitor if requested by the expectant mother and approved by the attending physician.

>> Outpatient Areas (Imaging, Labs, Day Surgery, etc.): One adult support person may accompany the patient and wait in the waiting area.

>> End of Life Considerations: For patients who are at end of life (whether an IP or an ER patient), the attending physician may modify the visitation rules above as to number of visitors and hours of visitation.

>> Visitor Screening Requirement: All visitors will be screened upon entry to the hospital and will be required to wear an approved mask (no bandanas or neck tube coverings permitted) at all times while in a South Texas Health System facility.

>> Behavioral Health Hospital: No visitation is allowed at this time due to the prevalence of asymptomatic individuals in the community and the need to protect all of our patients in that care setting.

STHS stated they would continue to monitor visitation guidelines which will be adjusted based on the local COVID-19 situation.