MILDURA Base Hospital has reduced the amount of time visitors can spend at the hospital in line with Victorian Government COVID-19 mandates.
Visitors will now be asked to spend a maximum of one hour with a patient between 11am and 1pm each day.
Only one nominated visitor per patient admission is permitted.
Nursing director Janet Hicks said the new measures would streamline the admission process and allow social distancing requirements to be maintained in the wards for the protection of staff, patients and visitors.
"There has been some queuing happening outside the hospital at the start of visiting hours, meaning some people have taken quite a while to get in," Ms Hicks said.
"We're hoping the change will stagger the time people arrive to visit a little bit more," she said.
"As well, we need to adhere to social distancing rules by limiting the numbers of people within the wards at any one time, so reducing visits to one hour will hopefully be fairer for everyone."
Additional visitors may be permitted on compassionate grounds and will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
The change is in addition to measures implemented last week allowing only one designated visitor for hospital patients across all wards, to reduce visitor movements, and the introduction of a requirement for all visitors to wear masks while they are inside the hospital.
"The tightening of restrictions across the state is difficult for everyone, but the changes are being implemented to protect vulnerable people and staff," Ms Hicks said.
"We understand it is undoubtedly distressing and challenging for people, especially when they want to see a loved one, but we would ask for people's continued understanding, for everyone to follow the rules and for our staff to be respected in the difficult task they're doing," she said.
Access to Mildura Base Hospital is only through the main entrance and every visitor entering is temperature-tested and assessed against a set of criteria before they can enter and will be provided a mask to wear if they do not have one.
Ms Hicks said there were no current active cases of COVID-19 in the Mildura community, but continued vigilance on hand hygiene and social distancing was vital.
"Just because we don't know of any active cases in our community does not mean that there aren't any – the challenge with COVID-19 is that infectious people can be active in the community without being aware of it," she said.