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UnityPoint announces new visitor restrictions

No mask exemptions allowed

-Messenger file photo
UnityPoint Health — Trinity Regional Medical Center changed some of its visitor policies at its clinics and hospital Monday, after loosening them in June.

As Webster County and Iowa experience a resurgence in COVID-19 cases, UnityPoint — Trinity Regional Medical Center announced new visitor restrictions in a press release Tuesday.

As of Monday, UnityPoint started requiring visitors to:

• Be screened upon entry, check in at nurse stations before entering patient rooms and wear a badge their entire visit.

• Wear a mask for the duration of their visit. Those who cannot wear a mask will not be permitted to enter.

• Be at least 18 years old.

• Be free of illness such as fever, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, vomiting or diarrhea.

• Visit patients in the 3N and critical care units between the hours of 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.

One notable departure from previous policy announced in June is a more absolute requirement of face masks, denying entrance to those who claim medical exceptions to wearing them.

Visitors are now allowed to visit COVID-19 positive, suspected or tested patients during certain treatments, UnityPoint announced this week. Those visiting COVID-19 patients, permitted at the discretion of care teams, will be required to wear more extensive personal protective equipment and will not be permitted to go to other areas of the hospital during their visit.

Previous visitor allowances of one visitor at a time will stand for most patients with some exceptions, such as pediatric and end-of-life patients.

“We know visitors are very important to a patient’s recovery,” said Troy Martens, chief operation officer. “We want individuals to be safe while COVID-19 is still in our community.”

Fort Dodge’s requirements were dwarfed Tuesday by new restrictions announced jointly by hospitals in Polk County, including UnityPoint’s, that reimposed complete visitor bans for most inpatients, with exceptions for end-of-life patients. UnityPoint’s locations in Fort Dodge and Des Moines alike first announced visitor suspensions in mid-March as the pandemic began its descent on Iowa.

Visitors in Fort Dodge have been allowed with the following considerations since late June:

• Clinic appointments: One visitor for adults and two visitors for pediatrics appointments.

• Adult inpatient (including critical care unit and OB-GYN): One visitor at a time.

• Pediatrics: Two parents or guardians at a time.

• Emergency room: One visitor or support person, who must stay in the room. Visitors cannot be switched.

• Surgical and procedural patients: One visitor for outpatient surgeries, who must remain in the patient’s room during surgery.

• End of life (expected within 24 hours): Two visitors or support persons allowed at any time, but are encouraged to stay in the room.

• Paula J. Baber Hospice Home: Two visitors allowed within a 24-hour period.

• Clergy: Clergy are allowed for patients requesting visitation for spiritual support.

• Interpreters: In-person interpreters are permissible if deemed important for patient communication.

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