GREENVILLE, SC (WSPA) – Prisma Health announced Friday that emergency department patients will not longer be allowed to have visitors except under special circumstances.

The health care system said the change is due to a surge in COVID-19 cases throughout the state and high infection rates.

The change will take effect at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 8 and will apply to emergency departments at all Prisma Health hospitals.

Once patients are checked in, visitors and care partners will be asked to wait in their cars or offsite and will be provided updates by phone.

Exceptions to the new rule include patients under the age of 18 or when an adult is accompanied by a child, patients with care needs or unable to give consent or an adult patient accompanied by an adult with care need, or end of life events.

For more information on the visitation policy, click here.