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Essentia restricts visitors as COVID-19 cases climb


DULUTH, MN-- Essentia Health announced Thursday it's restricting hospital visitors at St. Mary’s Medical Center and Essentia Health-Duluth.

Starting Friday, visitors will only be allowed at the medical facilities under special circumstances.

In a statement, Essentia reps said they are taking this step to patients and staff safe ad coronavirus spreads in the community.

Hospitalized patients with COVID or who are suspected of having COVID will not be allowed visitors, with the exception of pediatric patients, patients who need an essential support person, obstetrics patients and patients receiving end-of-life care.

For non-COVID patients, visitors are allowed under the folloring circumstances:

• Emergency department: One adult visitor is permitted for vulnerable adults, trauma or other patients requiring communication to a health care team on their behalf. Two adult visitors are permitted for pediatric patients.

• Pediatric units: Two adult visitors are permitted per patient.

• Labor and delivery units: One support person — plus a certified doula (for labor and delivery only) — for each mom.

• Neonatal intensive care units: Two parents are permitted to visit at a time.

• Surgery: One visitor is permitted for a vulnerable adult or other patient requiring communication to the health care team on their behalf.

• Care conferences should be done through virtual methods if possible. If visitors are needed, up to two will be allowed during the conference.

• At end of life, only two visitors at a time will be allowed. Visitors can be rotated and will be required to wait outside the facility until it is their time to see the patient. Decisions regarding any variance requested for end-of-life visitation will be made by unit leadership and a patient’s primary physician. Visitors under 18 are only allowed in end-of-life circumstances.

• Access to faith leaders: At Essentia facilities with Essentia-employed chaplains, chaplains are available for ritual, support, prayer and assisting with virtual and phone connections with family and a patient’s clergy or religious leader. Essentia-employed chaplains are not subject to this visitor policy.

If a patient needs special consideration, their care team may agree on other exceptions.

Visitors are required to stay in the patient's room and must wear a mask and eye protection.

Bonney Bowman

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