by Tom Weaver
To help minimize the impact of COVID-19, in-person visitation for facility visitors will be temporarily stopped at all Ascension Wisconsin facilities in central and northern Wisconsin until further notice.
Ascension St. Michael’s Hospital, Stevens Point; Ascension Good Samaritan Hospital, Merrill and Ascension Our Lady of Victory Hospital, Stanley will implement virtual visitation for hospitalized patients starting Wednesday, October 7 at 5 a.m.
Similar visitor restrictions are now also in place at many Ascension Wisconsin facilities throughout the state and this mirrors the previously announced virtual visitation guidelines already in place at Ascension St. Mary’s Hospital, Rhinelander; Ascension Sacred Hospital, Tomahawk; Ascension Eagle River Hospital, Eagle River and Howard Young Medical Center, part of Ascension, Woodruff.
It is important to note that this applies only to facility visitors only. Those with scheduled hospital or clinic appointments or procedures should attend those as directed by their clinician.
Ascension Wisconsin encourages family members and friends of patients to stay connected with their loved ones through virtual visitation - calling, video chatting or texting. The goal is to protect associates and those we are privileged to serve by limiting possible exposure to COVID-19.
There will be some exceptions on a case-by-case basis. Predefined exceptions include:
Pediatric patients: visitation is limited to both parents/legal guardians (max 2)
Women giving birth: limited to one (1) birthing partner
Patients undergoing surgery: limited to one (1) visitor in the pre-operative period until time of surgery
End-of-life care: as determined by the hospital care team
Other exceptions will be determined by facility leaders and clinicians on a case by case basis.
The updated restricted visitation policy at Ascension Wisconsin facilities in central and northern Wisconsin also includes the following:
All visitors, associates, clinicians and vendors entering Ascension Wisconsin facilities will be screened for flu-like and COVID-19 symptoms including, but not limited to, fever, cough, runny nose/nasal congestion, sore throat and/or new loss of taste or smell.
No visitors who screen positive for the above symptoms will be permitted into the facility.
Visitors entering for the above exceptions will be required to wear a mask upon entry and for the duration of the visit.
Visitors under the age of 18 will not be permitted.
“We appreciate the community’s support in adhering to these guidelines, as we continue to care for our neighbors who are most in need during these unprecedented times,” said Teri Theiler, Chief Administrative Officer at Ascension St. Michael’s Hospital.
“We feel these steps are necessary given the continued high and increasing positivity rate of COVID-19 cases in the region,” said Jonathon Matuszewski, Chief Administrative Officer at Ascension Good Samaritan and Ascension Our Lady of Victory.
Ascension Wisconsin reminds the community that it’s vitally important to practice safe, everyday preventative actions to limit the spread of COVID-19. This includes:
Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Wear a face mask/cloth covering in public places
Maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet apart from others
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily.
If someone is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or has had a potential exposure, please call your primary care provider or call 1-833-981-0711.
If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency or difficulty breathing, go directly to the ER or dial 911.
For additional information on COVID-19 and Ascension resources, please visit:
https://healthcare.ascension.org/covid-19 or call the dedicated Ascension Wisconsin COVID-19 informational hotline at 1-833-981-0711.
The Sentinel & Rural News covers the news and events of Clark County and southern Taylor County, as well as regional news that affects those areas.