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The University Medical Center of El Paso announced late last month that it would let non-COVID patients receive visitors with certain restrictions and protocols in place. Is this a good idea?

UMC allowing visitors to non-COVID patients

 The University Medical Center of El Paso (UMC) is now allowing some non-COVID patients to have visitors. At first glance this may seem unimportant or overly risky, but it isn’t. This will greatly benefit the patients who do get visitors. These are scary times, and people currently hospitalized don’t deserve to be left alone.  

UMC has set up guidelines to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus. The hospital only allows visitors from 4-6 PM, so this limited timeframe makes visits much safer than they could be. In addition, visitors are also required wear a mask and take a COVID test, meaning that they don’t have a very high chance of spreading COVID-19 to existing patients. It is also important to remember that visitations are being allowed only for non-COVID patients. My position would be different if that wasn’t the case, but since it is, there is no harm in limited visitation. 

Receiving visitors can be calming for a patient. Alone, they may end up understandably sad and afraid right now. 

“If they let me have visitors, I would want them,” Sandra Boswell, a community member who spent five days in the hospital last April, said. “Because I was in the hospital during COVID and couldn’t have any, I was very lonely and scared.” 

Even those who aren’t hospitalized themselves may not want to leave their relatives alone. 

“I would visit right now,” sophomore Jaime Herrera said, “because I would be willing to take the risk to make sure they know they’re cared for.” 

Movie theaters, restaurants, and other non-essential businesses have been open to in-person customers for months now. None of these places are as important as visiting a relative in a hospital. It doesn’t make sense that a person could go to a game store right now but not visit an injured relative. 

Simply put, there are plenty of non-essential businesses open right now. Hospitalized people are more important than going to the movies, and their relatives should be able to show them that. 

 There is little to no reason to oppose limited visitation for non-COVID patients.  When it comes to safety, UMC has taken measures that are more than adequate to protect from the virus. In addition, having visitors can ease the worries of hospital patients in these trying times. If allowing visitors was too dangerous, movie theaters and restaurants should be closed too. The benefits of limited visitation simply outweigh arguments against it. 

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