NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – This past summer and fall, the rules for visiting patients in Yale-New Haven Hospital were almost back to normal. More recently, they started cutting back and requiring vaccination proof. As of Thursday, the rules changed once again.

“And as of this morning, we are going back to no visitors, unfortunately,” said Dr. Thomas Balcezak, Chief Clinical Officers at Yale-New Haven Health.

You are not getting into Yale-New Haven Hospital unless you are the patient. There are a couple of exceptions for babies being born and people about to pass away, but those have to be approved ahead of time.

“And this is really to protect our patients, our staff, our medical staff, and our visitors,” Dr. Balcezak said.

Dr. Balcezak is the system’s Chief Clinical Officer. He says the number of patients in his hospitals has doubled in the last two weeks. Health officials worry people gathering to celebrate the new year could drive those numbers up even more.

“Don’t gather in large crowds. If you do gather in small crowds, make sure that you and the others are vaccinated and boosted. Try to do so with ventilation, wear masks,” Dr. Balcezak said.  

VA Connecticut Health Care is also banning visitors on the medical, surgical, and inpatient mental health wards unless pre-approved through the treating team. Doctors keep stressing that the best way to stay out of the hospital is to get vaccinated. It’s ironic that no one can go visit because they say if everyone saw inside a hospital these days, there might be a lot more people getting vaccinated.

“Very tired ICU nurse said to me, ‘I just wish the public could see what’s going on here.’ The ICU is full, all but two of the patients were COVID patients, all but one of them were unvaccinated,” Dr. Balcezak said.

The visitation rules will change as the COVID numbers change, but right now, they are headed in the wrong director. Dr. Belcezak said we are still very much on the uphill side of the current curve.

Bristol Health also announced on Thursday that no visitors will be allowed in its hospital, effective Friday, Dec. 31.

“Due to the increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases in our communities, we are revising our visitation policy,” said Donna Morris, Bristol Health’s Manager of Infection Prevention and Regulatory Programs. “In an abundance of caution to keep our patients, staff and community members safe, we are limiting visitation and access to the hospital to those considered essential to operations and those requiring hospital services and care.”

Trinity Health of New England updated its visitation policy as well, effective Jan. 3 until further notice.

In its member hospitals, they are now allowing one fully vaccinated adult visitor per patient, per day on inpatient units. For minors and babies, two fully vaccinated parents can visit per patient. One fully vaccinated adult visitor will be allowed for patients in the Emergency Department and one fully vaccinated adult visitor will be permitted for patients undergoing surgical procedures, allowed during registration and discharge only.

Effective Dec. 31, all Middlesex Health service locations, including Middlesex Hospital, outpatient locations and ambulatory settings, will be closed to visitors with a few exceptions. Exceptions include visitors making compassionate care visits, birthing partners for pregnancy and birth center patients, clergy visits, and parents, guardians or one designated support person for patients under the age of 18.

Patients with disabilities may have a designated support person to support their needs.