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Avera implementing tighter visiting procedures

Photo by Sam Thiel Pictured is one of the signs that is currently posted on the doors of the main entrance to the hospital at Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center.

MARSHALL — As the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Avera and the Hendricks Community Hospital Association announced over the weekend it will exercise practices starting this week to limit the amount of visitors inside their facilities.

Beginning today, facilities in Marshall, Tyler, Lake Benton, Ivanhoe and Granite Falls, as well as the HCHA, will be enforcing tighter limitations, as visitors will not be allowed in the hospital setting or emergency department, with an exception for childbirth, pediatrics and end-of-life care, Avera said in a Saturday press release.

Also, visitors should be precautionary and not take patients to their clinic appointments unless it’s a parent/guardian bringing in a child or someone who is not able to get to their appointment without assistance. This will be a temporary precaution in efforts to control traffic in the facilities.

In order to limit the amount of contact between any individuals with upper respiratory symptoms such as sore throat, sinus congestion, cough, shortness of breath or a fever that started within the past couple of weeks and other patients who are there for routine care or a scheduled appointment, these clinics are creating separate well care and ill care areas. Patients with upper respiratory symptoms will be seen in the ill care areas and some clinics will have a different entrance for those situations.

Urgent care will only be available through the Bruce Street clinic, while patients seeking routine care or those that have a scheduled appointment will enter through the Carlson Street clinic and will receive details about the new location to enter over the phone.

Last week, Avera limited its hospitals to allow only one visitor at a time per patient and that the visitor can’t have been exposed to COVID-19 or show any influenza or flu-like symptoms.

All individuals will continue to be screened when entering the health care facilities.

“We know this may be difficult for families. We feel this is the best decision to safeguard the health of patients, staff and the community. Please know that this is temporary. We’re asking for our communities’ understanding and cooperation with these precautions. The health and safety of our community and our staff are of top concern,” Regional President/CEO of the Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center Mary Maertens said.

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