As the number of positive COVID-19 cases continues to rise across Wisconsin, HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals are implementing updated visitor restrictions, effective October 15, 2020.
Jen Drayton, Chief Nursing Officer, said the hospitals hoped to avoid limiting visitors like it did in March when the Coronavirus was spreading across the country, but there is no greater need than keeping patients, colleagues and our communities safe.
“This is unfortunate, but it’s necessary until COVID-19 cases go down,” she said. “I know people are tired of hearing about the importance of masking, social distancing and excellent hand washing, but those are still the best ways to curb the spread of this virus.”
The following visitor restrictions went into effect on Oct. 15:
Visitors will not be allowed at either hospital until further notice. The only exceptions to this policy allow for ONE (1) approved adult visitor, TWO (2) for pediatric patients, who are cold/flu/COVID-19 symptom-free, for the duration of a patient’s stay under the following circumstances:
• 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.
Approved visitors must be over the age of 18 and will continue to be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and exposure upon entering the hospital. Visitors who have any of the following symptoms or are not feeling well will NOT be allowed to visit:
• Fever (greater than 100.0F) or chills
• Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
• Sore throat
• Loss of sense of taste or smell
• Exposure to a known COVID-19 person in the past 14 days
• If the visitor had COVID-19 he/she may not come to the hospital until 14 days after onset of symptoms or positive COVID-19 test AND at least 24 hours fever free with improvement in symptoms
Once a visitor arrives at the hospital, they will be expected to adhere to the following guidelines:
• Wear a face mask that covers the nose and mouth at all times; a face shield is NOT acceptable in place of a mask
• Use hand sanitizer to clean hands upon entering the hospital, entering a patient room and prior to exiting a patient room
• Remain in patient room or in space designated by hospital colleague
It is imperative to make these changes for the safety of all patients and hospital staff to reduce the risk of infection and to preserve important health care resources during this time of a public health emergency. We understand how important it is for loved ones to be able to connect to patients during times of need, and so we encourage the use of cell phone calls, text or video chat if available. Loved ones can also call our hospitals directly to be connected to patients’ rooms via telephone.
• HSHS Sacred Heart: (715) 717-4121
• HSHS St. Joseph’s: (715) 723-1811