Saturday, August 7, 2021

Geisinger Reinstates Visitation Restrictions Due to COVID-19 Spread

As COVID-19 cases increase, Geisinger will reinstate visitation restrictions and continues to enforce mask requirements per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines. 

These changes are part of Geisinger’s commitment to protect the safety of our patients, visitors and employees.

Beginning Monday, Aug. 9, Geisinger’s updated visitation policy will go into effect at all hospital campuses. Hospitalized patients and patients in the emergency room are permitted two visitors only. For outpatients, one visitor is permitted. Outpatient appointments include certain surgeries, pediatrics, mental or behavioral health, primary care and others.

Masks must be worn (regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status) by all patients, visitors and employees in all Geisinger buildings and facilities. The health system is also adjusting the capacity in waiting rooms and other public spaces, such as hospital cafeterias, to 50% to encourage physical distancing.

By making these changes and reinforcing mitigation efforts, Geisinger is following guidelines from the CDC and taking a proactive stance to protect our neighbors and communities from the increasing spread of COVID-19. According to Pennsylvania Department of Health data, over the past few weeks, the Commonwealth is seeing new COVID-19 cases double about every 10 days.

“The current trajectory of new infections shows some of the fastest spread of COVID we’ve seen during the pandemic,” said Stanley Martin, M.D., Geisinger’s director of infectious diseases. “Ninety-five percent of new infections are people who have not received the vaccine. The new variants are more contagious, and we encourage everyone to take advantage of Geisinger’s vaccine clinics to help stop the spread of COVID-19 so we can avoid further impact on our local schools, businesses, economy and our health care professionals.”

According to Geisinger data, since May 1, the health system has seen 2,696 positive COVID-19 tests, of which 95% were among unvaccinated individuals. Of the very few cases of vaccinated people who became infected, less than 1% were hospitalized with COVID-19, and all of those patients were discharged and returned home without treatment with ventilators.

“The majority of patients who are testing positive for COVID-19 and patients who are requiring hospitalization for COVID-19 are unvaccinated,” Martin said. “Of the 155,000 people Geisinger has fully vaccinated against the virus, less than 0.01% have been admitted to our hospitals for COVID-19 treatment. It’s clear the vaccines are safe and working as they are supposed to.”

Geisinger continues to offer by-appointment and walk-in COVID-19 vaccines at its community vaccine centers and select Geisinger Pharmacy locations. To make a vaccine appointment or learn more about walk-in events, call 570-284-3657 or visit