Sturdy Memorial Hospital stops visitors following COVID-19 cluster

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By Max Bowen-max.bowen@northstarreporter.com

After receiving a report of three coronavirus cases in its Balfour unit, Sturdy Memorial Hospital will not allow any visitors until further notice.

According to information posted to its web site, hospital staff are investigating a COVID-19 cluster involving three inpatients from the unit,which has been closed to new admissions. In addition, the hospital is not permitting any visitors. Patients and employees on the Balfour unit are conducting contact tracing to identify others who will need to obtain a COVID-19 test. Those who need testing due to a high risk exposure will be contacted.

New hospital rules

In the event of the need for a meeting for the discussion of medical decision-making, family members will be asked to participate by phone from home.

Those who have traveled to a high-risk COVID-19 area outside of Massachusetts or have had contact with a person known or suspected to be infected within the past 14 days are not allowed to visit. Individuals with fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, chills, body aches, headache, fatigue, weakness, or new loss of taste or smell in the last seven days are not allowed to enter the hospital for visitation.

Non-clinical, shadowing requests from students are not allowed for the duration of restricted visiting. Nursing, rehab, diagnostic imaging, pharmacy, and other clinical students are allowed due to potential need for assistance.

Volunteers are allowed but are subject to COVID screening. They are discouraged if they will be on-site for social activities and over the age of 65. Community clergy are considered visitors and not allowed unless under special circumstances.

For those in the Labor, Delivery, Recovery, and Postpartum suites, only the birthing partner and a doula (if pre-approved) will be allowed onto the Weber Maternity Unit. A wrist band will be provided and must be worn to allow access.

The birthing partner will be screened using the same criteria for visitor screening every time they enter the hospital.

Any approved visitor must be checked in at the desk prior to visiting and must show their band. Visitors under the age of 18 will not be allowed. No visitor, regardless of whether or not previously approved, will be allowed to visit if they are sniffing, sneezing, or coughing. Visitors in violation of these rules will be removed from the premises.

More information on the changes to the visitor policy can be found here.