NORTHAMPTON, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Officials with Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampon have released updated visitor policy details and other changes amid coronavirus concerns.

"These are difficult decisions to make and ones that we will continue to reexamine daily as we seek to serve our patients and communities with exceptional, compassionate and personalized care," the hospital explained in an online statement.

The hospital said that effective Tuesday afternoon, there is a no visitor policy in place.  That is a change from a one visitor per patient per day policy that was enacted last week.

Limited exceptions will be made, such as visitors for patients at end-of-life, one person accompanying a Childbirth Center patient, someone needed to assist a patient who may not understand and communicate.

With regards to appointments for surgeries or procedures, Cooley Dickinson staff will be contacting patients to reschedule surgeries and procedures that are safe to defer for at least four weeks. Staff will also check-in with those patients during that time to determine if it's still appropriate to have those appointments wait.

Procedures and surgeries that cannot wait without harm to the patients are still happening.

Well visits at Cooley Dickinson Health Care primary care practices, rehab visits that can be deferred, or non-urgent imaging will be rescheduled.  Those tests and visits that aren't appropriate to wait will still occur.

Some lab locations are closed due to what Cooley Dickinson described as "staffing challenges."  Patients are urged to check this website for more closure information. 

Lastly, with regards to COVID-19, Cooley Dickinson has restructured their primary care offices to separate, as much as possible, those with respiratory illness from those who have other medical issues.  

"Despite what you may hear, testing for COVID-19 is still extremely limited. Like all health care organizations, Cooley Dickinson is applying strict criteria for those who get tested. Call your primary care provider if you believe you might need testing," hospital official said, adding that a testing clinic will open as soon as the number of tests is needed.

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