VISITING restrictions have returned to Hunter hospitals, and visitors, patients and medical staff are now required to wear surgical masks while on site.
Following community transmissions of COVID-19 in the region last week, Hunter hospital's have returned to allowing one visitor at a time per patient.
"We wanted to be really careful that we were not putting ourselves at any extra risk - the risk for our patients, for our staff and our visitors," Dr Paul Craven, Hunter New England's medical controller for the COVID-19 response, said. "The foot fall that comes through a hospital every day is enormous... But we will watch it very carefully and as soon as we can we will go back to allowing more visitors. We will be flexible."
Dr Craven said visitors could wear their own cloth masks, or be provided with one. Visitors and patients moving around the hospital would need to wear a mask at all times.
Anyone with even mild symptoms should be tested.
"We don't want to miss anything now," he said.
Dr Craven said anyone who was tested for COVID-19 should isolate until they receive their results.