CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Saint Francis Healthcare System is now permitting one visitor per patient for many areas of their hospital facilities.
Both Southeast HEALTH and Saint Francis hospitals have restrictions in place for visitors to ensure the safety of all patients, staff and other visitors.
Social distancing, temperature checks and masks are mandated for the people in the hospitals, as well as, other requirements for visitors to follow once they enter the doors.
We spoke with Saint Francis Healthcare System President and CEO Dr. Maryann Reese who said they are very serious about visitors wearing masks.
She said they’ve been requiring masks for colleagues and visitors since March and have not had one transmission of COVID-19 within the walls of their medical center. They know this is due to tracing COVID-19 and she said the visitors can be managed for the health of the patients and staff.
“It’s a stressful time to be in the hospital, even if you’re having just a simple test, it’s still stressful,” Dr. Reese said. “So it’s important emotionally that we support our patients and that visitor helps with that. Even though COVID is on the rise, this was not based on anything except science and evidence. We feel that we can manage our visitors.”
Both hospitals require a visitor to be at least 18 years old, provide masks that cover their nose and mouth, socially distance themselves from others along with other restrictions.
Dr. Reese especially wanted to note the importance of wearing a mask and how visitors need to do their part to help keep everyone as healthy as possible.
“We know that we can manage COVID and that we can manage a visitor with a mask,” Dr. Reese said. “That being said; we are very strict about a mask. We require that the masks stay on the whole time the visitor is here and the time the patient is here.”
On July 20, Saint Francis Healthcare System started permitting one visitor per patient for primary care, specialty care and ancillary service appointments like laboratory and imaging, as well as outpatient surgery and procedures and emergency department visits.
They will continually monitor the COVID-19 situation and can safely invite visitors in with certain restrictions in place.
The following restrictions will be in place for Saint Francis Healthcare System to ensure the safety of all patients, visitors and staff:
- Visitors must be 18 years or older.
- Patients and visitors must provide their own mask. Masks with valves are not permitted. Masks must cover the nose and mouth.
- Patients and visitors will continue to be screened upon entry into all Saint Francis locations. Anyone experiencing COVID symptoms will not be permitted entry – fever and/or new onset or worsening cough or shortness of breath.
- Patients and their visitor do not need to social distance from each other but are required to maintain six feet socially distanced from others at all times. Waiting areas will have limited, socially distanced seating to limit contact with others.
- Visitors must keep their mask on at all times. Patients must remain masked at all times unless instructed otherwise by the provider as part of an exam.
- At Saint Francis Medical Center, areas currently not permitting visitors include adult ICUs and the COVID Care Unit.
You can click here for the complete visitor policy.
For Southeast HEALTH, there are similar restrictions in place.
- Allowing TWO visitors for the duration of the patient’s stay
- Until further notice, children under the age of 18 will not be allowed to visit
- Visiting hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- No COVID patients will be allowed to have visitors
- ONE visitor per patient for OB and Pre-op/procedural areas (Surgery, Cath Lab, GI)
- Visitors and patients will be screened upon entry and at all outpatient clinics, Convenient Care and the Cancer Center.
- Limiting vendors. Only vendors essential to operations will be permitted.
- Ensuring all individuals who enter the hospital have access to hand sanitizers and CDC informational brochures at the main lobby entrance, the patient, visitor, employee entrance from parking garage to main lobby and the emergency services entrance.
For more information on their policy or procedures, you can find that here.
“It is very important for the patient to have a visitor,” Dr. Reese said. “For spiritually, emotionally, and physically, we want the patient to be comfortable here and that comfort comes with having a visitor.”