Visitation Restrictions Enacted to Protect Patient’s Safety

Machias – Due to the high numbers of respiratory illness and the recent news that Maine has experienced its first confirmed case of COVID-19, Down East Community Hospital and all its provider practices in Machias, Jonesport, and Milbridge have implemented visitor restrictions.  Those restrictions will remain in effect until further notice.
In an effort to protect our patients and the surrounding community, the following restrictions are in force.  Visitors who are ill with flu or cold symptoms, fever, sore throat, cough, sneezing, runny/stuffy nose, vomiting and/or diarrhea will not be permitted.  There will only be one visitor allowed per patient in all areas. Members of the public coming to the hospital can be expected to be screened and asked to clean their hands.  No visitors will be allowed for patients who have a pending or positive COVID-19 test.  Lastly, all visitors must be 16 years or older.  Special exceptions may be made to the visiting restrictions for OB patients and patients at end of life or in hospice care and those exceptions will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by a nursing manager.
President and CEO, Steve Lail,  “This was a difficult decision to make, but we must put the safety of our patients first.  We also need to protect our staff and the community.  We may find later that safety warrants an increase to the restrictions and we will absolutely do that if the need arises.  You can be assured that we are continually updated by the Maine CDC and have all infection prevention and emergency preparedness protocols in place.” 
If you have recently traveled to areas affected by COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has, or are showing signs of illness, please refrain from visiting family or friends in the hospital.  If you are exhibiting symptoms of a respiratory infection, and must be at the hospital, please wear a mask.  If you are exhibiting symptoms and need to come to the Emergency Department or visit your provider, call ahead so the caregivers can make the necessary preparations for your arrival.
There are simple things you can do to help keep yourself and others healthy.
·         Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
·         Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
·         Stay at home when you are sick.
·         Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue into the trash.
For up to date information go to Maine CDC’s COVID-19 website at or by calling Maine CDC at 1-800-821-5821.

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