The state’s largest hospital is now drastically limiting visitors in an effort to lower the risk of spreading coronavirus.

As of Wednesday, the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City is suspending visitors for most adult patients.  UIHC Chief Medical Officer Theresa Brennan says there are a few cases where those strict rules will be relaxed, but not many.

“There are predetermined exceptions to this, for women who are in labor with an impending delivery and for patients who come to our emergency room,” Brennan says. “Pediatric patients will be allowed one visitor per day and that must be a parent or a legal guardian.”

Exceptions will also be made for patients in critical care and those facing end of life decisions, but even those patients will be allowed just one visitor. Brennan says it was a tough call. “This was a difficult decision and we have discussed it at length,” she says, “and we know that it’s the right thing to do to protect our patients, our visitors, and our staff.”

Hospital officials say they will help patients use technology to stay in touch with their loved ones, providing devices and language interpretation for those who need it.

 (By Kate Payne, Iowa Public Radio)