In the last several weeks, Maine has seen a surge in coronvirus cases unlike anything the state has experienced since the pandemic began. A few months ago, we might have a couple dozen cases a day at most. But now, Maine has been seeing days with numbers 10 times higher than that.

As one might expect, one of the places that virus control is a top priority, is in hospitals. So this week, Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center announced they were updating their visitor's policies to reflect all that's going on with the current state of affairs concerning COVID.

According to a press release from Northern Light EMMC, visiting hours will now be from 12:00pm - 6:00pm. Visitors must also be over 18 years old, and naturally will be asked to wear a mask at all times. this also means that folks will not be able to eat or drink anything while in the hospital.

However, there are some very specific exceptions to the rules. Such as:

  • End of life - two visitors at the bedside, up to four visitors daily.
  • Patients who lack capacity or are intubated - one visitor at the bedside, up to two visitors for the duration of the patient’s stay.
  • Pediatric/NICU/PICU patients - up to two parents/guardians/primary caregivers at the bedside for the duration of the patient’s stay.
  • Labor and Delivery patients - one support person at the bedside for the duration of the patient’s stay.

In addition, it would be preferable for folks who are showing up as patients, should do their best to come alone, unless they need some kind of assistance. Of course, parents should accompany their children for appointments. anyone who has an appointment, but has COVID symptoms should certainly check in with their doctor before coming in.

Also, your awesome homemade face mask, though extremely cool looking and totally awesome, will also not be permitted. You will be provided with a disposable mask by the hospital upon entry. It's just another layer of sanitation/protection they're trying to add for everyone's safety.

If you'd like to hear about the changes in their own words, here's the audio from my call this morning with Victoria Merry, Director of Patient Experience and Relations at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center:

Naturally, not everyone will love, or even agree, with all that they're trying to do to protect patients and staff, but it's in everyone's best interest to keep people safe. And maybe most importantly, don't shoot the messenger! If a staff member tries to enforce the policies, that's their job. So maybe try being nice, especially so close to Christmas!

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