As the COVID-19 pandemic continues trend in the wrong direction across the Northland, Essentia Health announced they will be imposing additional visitor restrictions in their East Market, which includes northwestern Wisconsin and northeastern Minnesota, west to Brainerd.

They announced the new restrictions on late in the afternoon on Monday, October 4 and they're not wasting any time to put them into place. The changes will become official policy on Tuesday, October 5 and Essential Health says they are necessary in order to better protect their patients and staff from potential COVID-19 exposure.

Here are the Essentia Health visitor restrictions for various patients:

Adult Patients
Inpatients:

  • No visitors allowed, with the following exception: One adult visitor is permitted for vulnerable adults or other patients requiring communication to the health care team on their behalf.

Emergency department: 

  • No visitors allowed, with the following exception: One adult visitor is permitted for vulnerable adults or other patients requiring communication to the health care team on their behalf.

Labor and delivery: 

  • No visitors allowed
  • Birth partner is permitted at all times
  • A certified doula will be allowed during labor.

Surgical/procedural: 

  • One adult visitor may accompany patient to pre- and post-procedural space. Visitors will wait in communal spaces; must be the same individual visiting for the day.

Pediatric Patients 
In pediatric units:

  • Two caregivers are permitted per patient per day; must be the same individuals for the day.

In neonatal intensive care units: 

  • Two caregivers are permitted per day; must be the same individuals for the day.

Emergency departments: 

  • Two caregivers are permitted for pediatric patients; must be the same individuals for the day.

Surgical/procedural area: 

  • Two caregivers are permitted for pediatric surgical/procedural patients. Two caregivers may accompany patient to pre- and post-procedural space and then visitors will wait in communal spaces. Must be the same individuals for the day.
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COVID-19 Patients and Suspected COVID-19 Patients
Patients known or suspected to have COVID-19 will not be allowed visitors, with the following exceptions: 

  • Pediatric patients
  • Those for whom a support person has been determined to be essential to the care and safety of the patient
  • OB patients
  • Patients at the end of life. In end-of-life situations, the visit should be scheduled.
  • Visitors should remain in the room and should always wear a mask and eye protection.

Patients at end of life:

  • Two adult visitors are permitted at a time; limited to immediate family and significant others.
  • Visitors can be rotated and will be required to wait in communal spaces.
  • Decisions related to end-of-life visitation concerns will be made by unit leadership and patient’s primary physician.
  • No visitors under the age of 18 unless visiting an immediate family member who is dying. These visitors must be escorted by an adult.

As far as the Northland is concerned, these restrictions apply to Essentia Health St. Mary’s Hospital-Superior, Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center, Essentia Health-Duluth, Essentia Health-Deer River, Essentia Health-Moose Lake, Essentia Health-Northern Pines (Aurora), Essentia Health-Sandstone, Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center, Essentia Health-Virginia and Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital.

Essentia Health notes that these policies will be in effect until further notice and could change once again based COVID-19 case counts in the area. Hopefully, things will start trending in the right direction sooner than later.

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