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Hospitals across Inland Northwest revise visitor policies as COVID-19 cases surge

New visitor guidelines for Providence in Spokane and Stevens counties and Kootenai Health go into effect Thursday. Here's what you need to know.

SPOKANE, Wash. — As COVID-19 cases continue to surge, hospitals across the Inland Northwest are being significantly impacted by the influx of people.

On Wednesday, Providence announced that they would be changing their visitor policies due to the increase in cases. The new policies would go into effect Thursday and would impact hospitals in both Spokane and Stevens County. Then, Thursday MultiCare announced on Thursday that they will tighten visitor restrictions.

MultiCare visitor guidelines:

  • One visitor or caregiver will be allowed for hospitalized patients.
  • In the Family Birth Centers patients will be allowed to have two support people during labor and birth. Then, two hours after the delivery the second support person will have to leave.

The restrictions are effective immediately.

Providence's new guidelines include the following:

  • All non-COVID inpatients in all areas of the medical center may have up to one visitor per day.
  • All outpatient surgical/procedural, Emergency, and clinic patients may have one family member/support person.
  • All non-COVID laboring inpatients may have one support person and one visitor during labor and birth process. Visitors must leave two hours after delivery.
  • Infant and children inpatients (under the age of 18) may have two adult visitors (advocate, parent, or guardian) per day. Underage siblings are not permitted to visit.

Kootenai Health announces visitor policy changes

Kootenai Health also announced new changes to its visitor policy which also goes into effect on Thursday.

“With the trending cases climbing, we are rapidly exhausting our staffing resources,” Kootenai Health CEO Jon Ness said in a press release Monday. “The COVID-19 hospital census is rising at a faster rate than it did last winter. If this trend continues, in just five days we will surpass our previous COVID-19 high census from December 2020.”

Kootenai Health's new guidelines include the following:

  • Visitors must be healthy and wear a mask while on campus. 
  • Hospital officials said patients will be allowed one visitor per day in inpatient areas and the emergency department unless the patient is COVID-positive or waiting on a COVID test result. 
  • For patients who require a caregiver to communicate and/or make health care decisions, the caregiver will be considered the one allowed visitor. 

Exceptions to Kootenai Health's new policy explain that birth center mothers may also have a doula, pediatric patients may have two parents or guardians, patients who are in end-of-life care may have four visitors in a 24-hour period, two visitors at a time and behavioral health patients will be allowed visitation through technology.

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