Oceanside-based Mount Sinai South Nassau, seen here in 2018, is...

Oceanside-based Mount Sinai South Nassau, seen here in 2018, is among the Long Island hospitals implementing a no-visitor policy, with a few exceptions. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

The Department of Health on Wednesday sent an advisory to hospitals in New York strongly urging them to immediately suspend all visitations except when it's medically necessary or for family members or legal representatives of patients in end-of-life situations.

The state said any visitors meeting those exceptions must be screened for COVID-19 symptoms or potential exposure to someone with COVID-19.

The DOH added that hospitals must post signage notifying the public of the suspension of visitation in all hospital entrances and in parking lots.

Hospitals on Long Island have mostly already implemented similar guidelines.

On Tuesday, Oceanside-based Mount Sinai South Nassau hospital said it was prohibiting all visitors, including to the emergency department, inpatient units, ambulatory sites and other facilities.

South Nassau said there are exceptions. For example, one healthy visitor can come to the pediatrics, maternity and postpartum areas. One healthy visitor can also come in end-of-life situations.

Also, one healthy visitor can come to pick up discharged patients.

"While these are difficult changes, they are necessary steps aimed at achieving our top priority: the safety and health of our staff and patients," the hospital wrote in a statement.

NYU Langone Health, which operates NYU Winthrop Hospital, said it will follow the state DOH guidelines. NYU Langone added that visitors would have their temperature taken before entering the hospital.

Other hospitals, such as Rockville Centre-based Catholic Health Services and New Hyde Park-based Northwell Health, have also strictly limited visitation privileges in the last week.

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