Atrium Health’s new visitor restrictions: What you need to know

CHARLOTTE — Atrium Health released its updated visitor policy Friday as the COVID crisis in hospitals intensifies.

“We know how important it can be to have someone by your side when you seek medical care,” Atrium said on its website. “As we navigate each new phase of the coronavirus (or COVID-19) pandemic, Atrium Health is continually reevaluating our visitor policies. And we’re setting the national standard for COVID-Safe care, with enhanced safety measures across all locations.”

On Friday, hospitalizations due to the virus across the state rose above 3,000 for the second day in a row.

According to Mecklenburg County health officials, there are four new hospital clusters including 38 staff members at Atrium Health Pineville. There is also a cluster of 9 cases among staff at Levine Children’s hospital. The other two clusters are at Novant Medical Center in Matthews.

>>Novant updated its visitor policies Friday as well. For more information about Novant Health’s visitor restrictions, click here.

Joane Hunter was on her way to see her 2-year-old granddaughter who’s in the hospital for cancer treatment when she heard about the new visitor restrictions. She told us she gets it.

“Anything they need to do is fine with me,” she said.

The new rules will limit the number and frequency of visitors at Atrium’s facilities to help slow the spread of the virus. Atrium has not said how long the new rules will apply.

Before your next visit, please review Atrium’s latest visitor policies, restrictions and exceptions:

At all Hospitals, Doctors Offices and Other Atrium Health Locations:

  • Patients will not be allowed visitors:
    • If they have COVID-19 or might have COVID-19 (being tested) at any location
    • Patients under 18 will be allowed two (2) parents or guardian visitation in some of these situations.
  • Visitors must:
    • Wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth at all times (except while eating in select areas)
    • Have a health screening when they enter the building
    • Be at least 12 years old. (Children must be supervised at all times and are expected to follow all safety protocols.)
    • Be in good health (free from respiratory illness, fever, cough, etc.)
    • Stay in the patient room visiting the patient, they cannot roam the hospital
    • Follow all social distancing and safety guidance. This includes wearing masks, staying six feet from others and hand washing
  • If a visitor does not follow the guidance above it can cause serious safety concerns. They will be escorted out of the building in order to keep our patients and staff safe
  • Patients at Atrium Health skilled nursing facilities may be allowed limited visitors. Contact the patient’s facility to find out more about visitation for their facility.
  • Special circumstances will be managed by the treating physician and the facility leaders


One (1) visitor will be allowed for adult patients at acute care hospitals

Two (2) parents or guardians may visit patients under 18 years of age

  • Visitation times for hospitals are daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Visitors may switch during the same day.
  • Patients having surgery may have one (1) visitor with them until they are in their patient room, even if they arrive before 8 a.m. Once they are in their patient room, they may have up to two (2) visitors from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Patients under 18 may have 2 parents or guardians visit any time of day.

Please also review the restrictions for all locations

Acute Care

Overnight Visitation

Patients may have one visitor overnight with the following exceptions:

  • Patient is Covid-19 positive or PUI
  • Minor patients under the age of 18 may have two (2) visitors/guardians at any time.

Special Considerations

  • Overnight visitors must stay at the patient’s bedside.
  • Waiting rooms and communal sleeping areas will remain closed.
  • Some visitors arrive with patients via entrances other than the main visitor entrance (ex. Surgery, Emergency, Heart Procedures). In the event a patient who entered through any entrance other than the main visitor entrance be admitted and the visitor chooses to stay overnight, the visitor will need to check-in at the main entrance and receive a visitor band during visiting hours (8:00 am – 10:00 pm). If the patient admission happens after visiting hours, the visitor may stay overnight and check-in at the main entrance during the next day’s visiting hours.
  • Special circumstances to be managed by treating physician and nursing unit leadership.
  • If a patient needs an in-room procedure that requires the visitor to leave the room, the visitor may wait in the hallway outside the patient room or go for a walk.

Inpatient Maternity Visitor Policy

  • Visitor may switch between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. Overnight visitors cannot switch.
  • Labor and Delivery
    • One (1) visitor, no restriction on visitation times
    • May have additional visitor as labor coach or doula
    • Labor coach or doula must leave within 2 hours after delivery
    • Patients who have COVID-19 or might have COVID-19 (being tested) are allowed 1 visitor
  • Before delivery (Antepartum)
    • One (1) visitor allowed to stay overnight
    • Patients will not be allowed visitors at any location, if they have COVID-19 or might have COVID-19 (being tested)
  • After delivery (Postpartum)
    • One (1) visitor allowed to stay overnight
    • Patients who have COVID-19 or might have COVID-19 (being tested) are allowed 1 visitor
  • Readmission after delivery
    • One (1) visitor allowed to stay overnight
    • Newborn allowed to stay with mom and does not count as a visitor
    • Patients who have COVID-19 or might have COVID-19 (being tested) are allowed 1 visitor
  • Labor Coach Guidelines
    • Inpatient maternity patients in labor will be allowed a labor coach, in addition to another visitor, for the duration of their labor, for a total of two (2) visitors allowed during labor and delivery. The full policy for inpatient maternity patients is:
    • Labor coach must be 18 years of age or older per visitation guidelines.
    • A labor coach will not be permitted if the patient has or is suspected of having COVID-19.
    • Labor coach or doula must leave within 2 hours of delivery
    • Patients are encouraged to carefully select their visitor and labor coach (if applicable) to reduce exposure to their newborn. If selecting someone outside of their household, it is recommended that the labor coach/visitor self-quarantine for 14 days prior to delivery date when possible.

Please also review the restrictions for all locations.

Emergency Departments and Urgent Care

  • Emergency Departments and Urgent Care centers patients are allowed 1 visitor any time of day. Visitors are allowed to switch during the visit
  • 2 parents or guardians are allowed if patients are under 18
  • If the Emergency Department is busy, visitors will not be allowed in waiting rooms. Visitors will have to remain outside the Emergency Department until the patient is placed in a room. Designated parking lots are available for visitors who are waiting.
  • Behavioral Health Emergency Departments will not allow visitors for adult patients because of limited space

Please also review the restrictions for all locations.

To learn more about Atrium Health’s policies, click here.

(WATCH: Novant, Atrium, health department requiring all employees to get COVID-19 vaccine)