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No-visitor policy begins at Mayo Clinic Health System, HSHS hospitals to follow

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EAU CLAIRE (WQOW)- As COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the state and in our area, Mayo Clinic hospitals are restricting visits, which means if you have a loved one in the hospital, you may not get to see them in-person.

Mayo Clinic Health System reimplemented its no-visitor policy in northwest Wisconsin Monday in response to a growing number of COVID-19 cases in the area. The policy was originally in effect near the onset of the pandemic but was relaxed throughout the summer.

Mayo officials say it was a tough decision, but necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the region.

"We acknowledge that it places certainly an inconvenience, and in some instances a hardship on those patients," said Jason Craig, regional chair of administration for the Mayo Clinic Health System. "It truly is a reflection of the increased activity and the increased presence of COVID within the patient population, and within a broader community as we've seen in various reports."

Craig said Zoom video calls will be available for patients to connect with loved ones and there are some exceptions to the policy, including end-of-life care, and some pediatric care on a case-by-case basis.

HSHS Hospitals also announced Monday they will not allow visitors in their hospitals effective 7 a.m. Thursday.

The only exceptions to the policy allow for one approved adult visitor, two for pediatric patients who are COVID-19 symptom free, under the following circumstances:

Policy for HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph's Hospitals

  • Obstetrical patients may have ONE (1) support person.
  • Pediatric patients under the age of 18 may have TWO (2) parents or guardians present, provided they live in the same household.
  • Patients nearing end-of-life may have ONE (1) support person; extenuating circumstances will be evaluated.
  • Outpatient services patients should ask their support person to wait in the car until their service is complete.
  • Patients having surgery may have ONE (1) support person.
  • Patients seeking emergency care may have ONE (1) support person who is required to be in the patient room and masked at all times; extenuating circumstances will be evaluated.

Jen Drayton, HSHS chief nursing officer, said the hospitals hoped to avoid limiting visitors as it did in March when the coronavirus was spreading across the country, but there is no greater need than keeping patients, colleagues and the communities safe.

Policy for Mayo Clinic Health System

No visitors in inpatient or outpatient facilities in Northwest Wisconsin

Exceptions – One visitor allowed for:

  • Inpatient pediatric and end-of-life patients
  • Birth of a child
  • Emergency Department patients
  • Outpatient visit if the patient has a physical or cognitive impairment, or is a minor

Here is a link to Mayo Clinic Health System's full policy.

Evan Hong

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