From the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Monroe hospital Piedmont Walton has been working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Georgia Department of Public Health to stay up-to-date with the latest information.

Piedmont Walton is continuously preparing for potential infectious diseases and epidemics and has intensified its efforts since COVID-19 showed increased activity in the United States.

On Tuesday, to best protect the safety of patients and employees, Piedmont Walton implemented new visitor restrictions until further notice.

These include the following:

• All visitors are restricted except essential family members.

• The only cases in which visitors will be permitted are for patients receiving end-of-life care, labor and delivery support, and for legal guardians accompanying minors who are receiving treatment. Visitors must call ahead and receive preapproval.

• In addition, visitors who receive approval must pass a health screening based on the CDC’s updated COVID-19 indicators before entering.

During this time, Piedmont Walton officials encourage the use of electronic devices to communicate with patients who are hospitalized.

 “The COVID-19 pandemic is evolving rapidly and we as a health system also must react rapidly to protect our patients and our employees,” Larry Ebert, CEO of Piedmont Walton, said. “While we regret the inconvenience it may cause for some patients, safety is at the center of our organization and we believe these steps are necessary to create the safest environment at our hospitals.”