FARGO — With the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the area, Essentia Health in Fargo will restrict visitors of hospitalized patients starting Monday, Nov. 23.

Visitors will not be allowed in Essentia hospitals except in special circumstances and at the discretion of care teams.

Hospitalized patients with COVID-19 or suspected of having COVID-19 will not be allowed visitors except for pediatric patients, patients for whom a support person has been deemed essential, obstetric patients and patients receiving end-of-life care.

For non-COVID patients, visitors will be allowed under the following circumstances:

  • Emergency department: One adult visitor is permitted for vulnerable adults, trauma or other patients requiring communication to a health care team on their behalf. Two adult visitors are permitted for pediatric patients.
  • Pediatric units: Two adult visitors permitted per patient.
  • Labor and delivery units: One support person, plus a certified doula (for labor and delivery only) for each mom.
  • Neonatal intensive care units: Two parents permitted to visit at a time.
  • Surgery: One visitor permitted for a vulnerable adult or other patient requiring communication to the health care team on their behalf.
  • Care conferences: Should be done through virtual methods if possible. If visitors are needed, up to two will be allowed during the conference.
  • At end of life: Only two visitors at a time will be allowed. Visitors can be rotated and will be required to wait outside the facility until it is their time to see the patient. Decisions regarding any variance requested for end-of-life visitation will be made by unit leadership and a patient’s primary physician. Visitors under 18 are only allowed in end-of-life circumstances.
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Essentia-employed chaplains are not subject to this visitor policy. At facilities with Essentia-employed chaplains, they are available for ritual, support, prayer and assisting with virtual and phone connections with family and a patient’s clergy or religious leader. A patient’s pastor or religious leader can visit non-COVID patients as long as the visit is not disruptive to patient care. Community clergy and religious leaders may visit patients with COVID only at end-of-life or for compassionate care, and these visits should be scheduled in advance.

Special considerations for individuals and other exceptions may exist. Exceptions will be agreed upon by a patient’s care team.

All visitors are required to remain in the patient’s room and are expected to wear a mask and eye protection at all times. Anyone who is sick or showing coronavirus symptoms won’t be allowed to visit patients.

Additionally, Essentia Health will no longer allow visitors in the hospital cafeteria. Hospital visitors who are allowed to visit under the policy exceptions will be able to order trays of food to the hospital room.

At this time, visitors are still allowed in the clinic setting. Essentia asks that patients limit bringing another person with them to appointments as much as possible and limit it to those who require assistance for their visit.