Hospitals across the Garden State are opening their doors to more visitors, thanks to positive trends in the way of COVID-19 activity such as cases and hospitalizations.

Facilities in all regions of the state are now operating under level 'green' of a color-coded hospital visitation guide that was developed by the New Jersey Hospital Association and launched during last fall's COVID surge.

With this move, most patients are allowed two visitors at a time — in 'yellow' mode, the visitor cap was one. This also means additional support for expectant mothers. In end-of-life scenarios, care teams now have the option to place no limit on the number of visitors. Under level 'yellow,' visitors of end-of-life patients were capped at two at a time.

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"Visitors are essential to our well-being and healing," said NJHA President and CEO Cathy Bennett. "I think visitors can be our most important medicine."

The visitation guide splits the state's hospitals into four geographic regions. For the first time since the tool's launch, all four regions are at the lowest level of the three-tier system. Bennett noted hospitals were in 'red' mode in the late fall and early winter; visitors were only permitted in a limited number of circumstances.

Even at level 'green,' visitor restrictions persist for patients with COVID-19 or those who are immunocompromised. There are exceptions for certain scenarios.

Visitation thresholds are assessed weekly by health officials.

"Please come and visit your loved ones, but wear your mask and make sure you're wearing it so it covers your nose and your mouth," Bennett said.

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