Lawrence’s hospital begins restricting visitors; entrance screenings under consideration

photo by: Chris Conde

LMH Health is pictured in a file photo from October 2018.

Effective immediately, Lawrence’s hospital will not be permitting any visitors under the age of 18, as well as those with respiratory symptoms or those who have recently traveled to a confirmed coronavirus outbreak area.

LMH Health announced the measures Thursday afternoon, and spokeswoman Rebecca Smith said that Dr. Christopher Penn, who specializes in infectious disease, provided that guidance to the hospital.

“This decision was made out of an abundance of caution to ensure that we are limiting risk for patients, visitors, staff, volunteers and the community,” Smith wrote in an email to the Journal-World. “While we understand that connecting with family members is very important, we strongly request that you not visit the facility if you have any symptoms of respiratory illness.”

Smith also said that in very rare exceptions, visitors over the age of 18 who show symptoms of a respiratory illness or who have recently traveled to a confirmed coronavirus outbreak area may be allowed in, but with an abundance of caution.

In the coming days, all visitors to LMH Health might be screened before entering, according to LMH Health CEO Russ Johnson.

“Screeners may ask a series of questions about health and travel over the past two weeks. Based on those answers, patients may be offered further evaluation or testing,” Smith said in her email, providing information from Johnson.

The LMH Health main campus might also reduce the number of entrances to the building. If changes are made, information will be available both online at and via signage placed throughout the campus.

More coverage: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

As the pandemic continues, the Journal-World will be making coverage of COVID-19 available outside of the paywall on

Find all coverage of city, county and state responses to the virus at:


Welcome to the new Our old commenting system has been replaced with Facebook Comments. There is no longer a separate username and password login step. If you are already signed into Facebook within your browser, you will be able to comment. If you do not have a Facebook account and do not wish to create one, you will not be able to comment on stories.