Patients at hospitals across the Illawarra Shoalhaven will be reunited with loved ones and friends from today with the local health district reinstating general visiting.
One fully vaccinated person, wearing a mask is now allowed to visit general wards at Wollongong Hospital between 10.30am and 12.30pm while two visitors a day, following the same criteria are allowed at Coledale, Bulli, Port Kembla, Shellharbour, David Berry, Shoalhaven and Milton Ulladulla Hospital's between 11am and 1pm and again from 5pm till 7pm.
LHD boss Margot Mains said Wollongong's hours differ because of the high volume of COVID positive patients who require transfer through the facility at various times of the day.
"We know the community is keen to resume normal life as quickly as possible, but our hospitals remain on high-risk alert level as we continue to deal with COVID-19.
"We are now working through the safe and appropriate re-opening of other areas, including surgery, oral health and outpatient clinics, and will continue to promptly advise the community when these resume.
"Our aim is to achieve a balance of the resumption of our usual services/activities as quickly as possible, whilst maintaining the required COVID measures and protocols to keep our patients, staff and community safe," Mains said.
The community is also being advised that while an easing of visitor restrictions has commenced, there are a still a number of COVID-19 measures in place to ensure patient safety.
"At this stage, existing restrictions remain unchanged in Intensive Care, COVID-19 Wards, Maternity and Birthing, Paedatrics and outpatient face-to-face appointments.
"Screening will also be maintained at our facility entrances, including QR code check-in," Mains said.
The Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District said the following criteria applies for visitors to a NSW Health facility:
• Must be at least 12 years of age
• Must have had two doses of a TGA approved COVID-19 vaccine
• Has evidence of vaccination status, which will be checked upon entry
• Must wear a surgical mask correctly on entry at the facility and for the duration of the visit
Image: Travis Winks