Visitors to all hospitals in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven are now being limited, as part of the health district's response to COVID-19.
No more than two visitors at a time will now be allowed at Wollongong, Coledale, Bulli, Port Kembla, Shellharbour, David Berry, Shoalhaven and Milton Ulladulla Hospitals.
The majority of the region's private hospitals are also limiting visitors to two per patient, and all maternity unit visitors to Wollongong Private Hospital must be pre-approved by the mother, and limited to immediate family or carers.
Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District executive director medical services Dr Peter Jansen said the measures were aimed at reducing the risk of spreading the virus. He asked for the community's co-operation and understanding.
"Our hospitals are the frontline for dealing with COVID-19," Dr Jansen said.
"We need to take these important measures now to slow the spread of the virus to people within the community, including healthcare staff.
"We are asking visitors to stay away from the hospital, where possible. Please postpone visiting patients until they are out of hospital.
"We are also advising people with flu-like symptoms, including fever, sore throat and runny nose not to enter our facilities. People who are extremely unwell with these symptoms should come into the ED, but we ask that you call ahead."
Dr Jansen urged the public to be aware of the criteria for COVID-19 testing to enable district staff to prioritise and protect anyone at high risk of infection.
The criteria includes anyone who has returned from overseas or had close contact with a confirmed case and developed symptoms within 14 days. Symptoms include a fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath.
Those who meet the criteria can attend the COVID-19 Assessment Clinic at Wollongong Hospital which opened on Monday. Planning on a further two clinics is underway for Shellharbour and Shoalhaven hospitals.
Others who have symptoms should seek medical attention by calling their GP or healthdirect on 1800 022 222.
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