Amid a slowdown in the spread of COVID-19 across the region, Essentia Health is updating its visitor policy.

Beginning Tuesday, Feb. 9, one adult visitor per patient per day will be allowed in all Essentia Health clinics and hospitals, including emergency departments. The change does not apply to long-term care facilities.

Previously, visitors only were allowed for special circumstances. However, since the dangerous surge experienced in November and December, the number of COVID patients in Essentia's hospitals has dropped significantly.

Variances to the policy include:

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  • In pediatric units, two caregivers are permitted per patient per day.
  • In neonatal intensive care units, two caregivers are permitted per day.
  • In emergency departments, two caregivers are permitted for pediatric patients.
  • In birthing centers, one adult visitor is permitted to visit. The birth partner is permitted at all times and is not considered a visitor. A certified doula will be allowed during labor.
  • People under the age of 18 may visit an immediate family member who is dying when they are escorted by an adult.

Click here for complete details of the updated policy.

For adult inpatient COVID-19 patients, no visitors are allowed except for end-of-life situations, when additional visitors may be admitted at the discretion of hospital leadership and the patient’s primary physician. Chaplains are available to patients and families for support, ritual and prayer.

Essentia has put visitor restrictions in place to protect its patients and staff from the transmission of COVID. The organization updates these restrictions as necessary — either because of an increase in new cases or a continued decrease in community spread.

Essentia is asking for the community’s help to make this policy change safe and successful on an ongoing basis. All staff, patients and visitors are required to wear a mask that covers their mouth and nose. All approved visitors will be screened for COVID and will not be permitted if symptomatic.