PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As state health officials say the COVID-19 picture in Rhode Island is improving, they announced that a major ease on visitation restrictions at hospitals and long-term care facilities would become effective Friday.

R.I. Department of Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott announced Thursday due to a dramatic decrease in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, the state would allow all hospitals to transition to Level 1, the least restrictive of hospital visitation guidance.

The state’s two largest hospital groups, Lifespan and Care New England, are both taking different approaches to gradually easing visitation restrictions.

A spokesperson for Care New England said Friday the hospital group “is aware of the ask to lift visitor restrictions and is carefully considering how this will affect each of our operating units, with the unique needs of patients and staff of each location.”

Care New England will announce any chances on the visitation restrictions section of their website, according to the spokesperson.

Lifespan changed the visitation policy on its website Friday afternoon, stating that visitation at its hospitals will resume Feb. 22, but on a limited basis. Two visitors will be allowed for each adult patient for 30-minute visits.

Westerly Hospital said one visitor will be allowed to visit a patient per day beginning Friday, according to a spokesperson for the hospital.

“This applies to patients in the hospital only and not our outpatient facilities,” Westerly Hospital spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for South County Health tells 12 News it is complying with the state’s visitation policy and will be allowing two visitors per room. Before those visitors are allowed inside the building, the spokesperson said they will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms.

“It is important that inpatients stay connected with their friends and family,” South County Health’s spokesperson said. “We’ve also been encouraging these connections using technology such as FaceTime and video chats with patients’ cell phones or iPads that we have available for them to use.”

Since March, visitors in hospitals were only allowed for very specific reasons, such as a support person for women in labor or family members in end-of-life situations, and there were specific hours in place for visitation.

Under Level 1, guidance says visitation will still be reduced, and Dr. Alexander-Scott says there will still be significant precautions in place, including screening visitors for COVID-19 symptoms upon arrival, wearing appropriate fitting face coverings, physical distancing, cleaning high-touch surfaces after each visit and staff wearing personal protective equipment (PPE).

The Department of Health also announced visitors will now be allowed at nursing homes and assisted living facilities if the facility has not had any COVID-19 cases in the last 14 days.