PRESQUE ISLE — Northern Light AR Gould Hospital has tightened its visitation policy at the hospital and stopped inside in-person visits at its Continuing Care facility in Mars Hill. This change is effective Wednesday, Dec. 2, and due to the increased number of COVID-19 cases in our community.
The elimination of inside, in-person visits at Northern Light Continuing Care are directed by state guidelines relating to the new number of positive COVID-19 cases in the central Aroostook region in the past 28 days. This increase in community spread has moved the designation for the nursing home from “low” risk to “moderate” risk, which requires that in-person visits stop.
“The state of Maine has a solid set of guidelines for nursing homes tied to infection rates in surrounding communities. Recent increases in infection rates triggered these changes,” said Greg LaFrancois, hospital president. “We do not have any positive cases in our Mars Hill facility, and we are proud of our staff’s passion for maintaining a safe environment for our residents.”
Other changes in the visitor policy surround inpatient visitors at AR Gould Hospital. Most significantly, visiting hours in all inpatient hospital areas other than the Women & Children’s Unit, are being reduced to six hours each day. Visiting hours will be Noon to 6 pm Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends. Visitors in those areas remain limited to one per day; however, with the new changes, that visitor can no longer leave and return during the same day. Once the visitor leaves the facility, they will not be able to reenter.
For the Women and Children’s Unit, one visitor can accompany an obstetrics patient; the visitor should plan to stay in the patient’s room for the duration of her hospital stay. Pediatric patients may always have a parent or guardian with them; a total of two visitors (one at a time) are allowed, so that one can be with the child during the day and the other during the night.
Visitors continue to be restricted from the Emergency Department, Day Surgery and the Dialysis Center, other than specific identified exceptions. Visitors are also restricted in all outpatient practices, unless it is a parent accompanying a minor child, an individual assisting a patient with special needs, an oncology patient getting a new diagnosis or an obstetrics patient having an ultrasound.
All visitors at any AR Gould facility must wear a medical-grade mask which will be provided by the hospital for the duration of their visit, even when in a patient’s room. Visitors must also be screened upon arrival, including a temperature check; hand sanitize; and following six-feet physical distancing guidelines.