WALLA WALLA –Providence St. Mary Medical Center has tightened visitor restrictions to one visitor per patient due to the recent surge of COVID-19 cases. Hospital administrators stated the visitor restrictions are necessary for the safety of patients, visitors, and caregivers.
Patients only are allowed one visitor each, and that visitor must remain the same person throughout the patient’s stay. Visitors cannot rotate. Each visitor may only come once in a 24-hour period and will not be allowed to come and go repeatedly within the same day.
There are exceptions. In the birthing center, two support people of the mother’s choosing are permitted throughout labor and delivery. Afterwards, one of those same individuals may remain for recovery. The support people must remain the same throughout the stay. Patients under the age of 18 may have two support people, with one of them required to be a parent or guardian legally able to make decisions. They cannot rotate.
Patients receiving end-of-life care (if the healthcare provider believes they may pass within the next 12 to 24 hours) may have two visitors. The visitors cannot rotate and must remain the same two people. No visitors are allowed in COVID-positive or isolation rooms. Also, in addition to the visitors, patients may have visits from the clergy.
All visitors are required to wear surgical masks that completely cover their noses and mouths while in the hospital, including while in the patients’ rooms. If a visitor does not have a surgical mask, one will be provided. Bandanas, gaiters, and cloth masks do not provide sufficient protection; therefore, they are not acceptable.
Providence St. Mary Medical Center asks patients and their families to consider communication through phone calls and video chats as their primary means of communication. The hospital staff has iPads on hand and can help set these up upon request from those who don’t have their own electronic devices.