FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — New restrictions are in place at Washington Regional.

The hospital has entered into phase two of it’s COVID-19 surge plan.

Chief Operating Officer Birch Wright says the hospital still has capacity for both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients, and this surge plan is a step toward making sure that doesn’t change.

The primary change in this phase of the plan deals with visitors in the hospital.

“Part of the surge is a direct result of visitation,” said COO and administrator at Washington Regional Hospital Birch Wright. “Of course, we want our patients to have visitors but, unfortunately with the rapid spread we’ve had, we’re scaling back our visitation hours primarily. We are closing our cafeteria to visitors, we are closing the apothecary, the coffee shop, to visitors, and our gift shop. That’s just primarily not to induce more people into the hospital that could possibly spread this disease.”

Wright says he understands the importance of having loved ones present for patients in the hospital regardless of whether the patient is dealing with COVID-19 or any other illness, but with the spike in cases and the more contagious Delta variant circulating the state, difficult decisions have to be made to ensure the safety of staff and patients.