Nacogdoches Medical Center announced plans to loosen the restrictions put in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic Monday, if only slightly, as the hospital attempts to resume some normal operations.

As of Tuesday, patients will be allowed "one designated support person" whereas before, visitation was limited to a case-by-case basis.

Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital spokesperson Kim Barton said the issue of changing restrictions on visitors to the county hospital had not been discussed as of Monday afternoon. 

Testing and screening criteria, such as taking temperatures and requiring people to wear identification, masks and sanitize their hands will remain in place, and anyone who doesn't abide by the hospital's policies will not be allowed into its facility, according to a statement about the changes. Those policies apply not only to visitors, but to hospital staff as well. 

"Our COVID safety standards were developed with key principles in mind to maximize safety — maintain vigilance of all potential risks, create separate care pathways and take a multi-factor approach to maintaining a safe environment for patients and visitors,” Nacogdoches Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Jeff Patterson said in the statement.

The hospital has also created designated waiting areas specifically designed to adhered to social-distancing recommendations. 

Medical center will also resume performing some "elective care" that had been heavily restricted under the direction of health officials and Gov. Greg Abbott's state-wide orders to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. 

As a result, the hopsital has begun recalling furloughed workers. 

"NMC has begun bringing back some furloughed employees and is evaluating every week to see if they can bring back more," according to Patti Tanner, the Director of Communications for Tenet Health in Arizona and Texas. "The hospital is back to offering all elective procedures that they were providing prior to the governor’s order."

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