Some of Massachusetts' biggest hospitals have announced new, strict limitations on patient visitation as the recent surge in COVID-19 infections continues across the state and the region.

On Wednesday, Massachusetts General Hospital issued updated guidance aimed at minimizing contact with visitors. MGH is urging anyone wishing to visit a patient to call first, and visits will not be allowed to the hospital’s emergency department or to patients being treated in isolation for severe respiratory issues – including COVID-19 patients.

Visits are still allowed for other adult patients, MGH says, but the hospital is urging visitors to stay no longer than two hours.

Lawrence General Hospital announced similar restrictions weeks ago, in early November.

And Tufts Medical Center and Tufts Children’s Hospital, announced new visitation restrictions Tuesday that prohibit almost all visits to adult patients.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Tufts Medical said visitation will still be allowed for some pediatric patients, as well as to the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit.

Speaking with GBH News Wednesday, Tufts Chief Nursing Officer Terry Hudson-Jinks said the decision to restrict visitation was not an easy one.

“The primary goal is safety for everyone. So as COVID-19 rates have increased in the community, the focus for us is to make sure we have a safe environment for our patients and our staff,” Hudson-Jinks said.

“By restricting visitation we are limiting the number of people that are entering our facility greatly, and in our eyes that reduces the risk,”

Hudson-Jinks says medical staff are doing their best to help patients connect with family members via electronic devices. "We’ve been able to almost recreate the atmosphere – almost – of family being in the room,” she said.

While medical providers and state health officials are in close communication, Hudson-Jinks said, right now decisions around specific visitation policies are up to individual providers.