Stephens Memorial Hospital puts new visitation restrictions in place in response to COVID-19 outbreak

March 17, 2020

Contact: Abbie Graiver

NORWAY, Maine –In response the coronavirus outbreak, Stephens Memorial Hospital is implementing temporary restrictions with regard to its policies for visitors.

This is being done, in part, to prevent or limit community spread of the virus. Infectious disease experts say that measures to contain the virus are most effective early in its spread. Also, though the vast majority of people infected with COVID-19 will experience mild to moderate symptoms and make a full recovery, COVID-19 can be very serious for vulnerable populations, especially older people and those with underlying health conditions. Given that these populations often are cared for at Stephens Memorial Hospital, it is important to take all necessary steps to protect them.

“Family and friends have an important role to play in the healing process” said Stephens Memorial Hospital President Andrea Patstone. “But that needs to be balanced against the need to keep our patients, care team members and communities safe during this outbreak.”

The new guidelines for visitors are as follows:

  • Effective Monday, March 15, visitation hours at Stephens Memorial Hospital will be limited to 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week.
  • Patients and visitors must enter Stephens Memorial Hospital through the front entrance at 181 Main Street in Norway. Other points of entry are closed to the public.
  • There will be a limit of one visitor or companion per patient throughout the hospital and physician offices. This limit applies to all visits to hospital, its imaging center, outpatient laboratory, emergency department, and birthing center as well as the Medd and Ripley Medical Office Buildings.
  • Because children can carry COVID-19 without showing symptoms, no visitors under the age of 18 will be permitted.
  • Limited exceptions to these policies can be made, such as in the case of pediatric patients or patients requiring support at end of life.
  • Family meetings may include one family member in-person, with others participating by speaker phone.

All members of the public, whether patients arriving for services or visitors, will be screened upon entering a Stephens Memorial Hospital facility. A care team member at each entrance will ask a series of health symptom screening questions. Sick individuals may be asked to leave or be re-directed to an appropriate point of care. Besides limiting visitors, Stephens Memorial Hospital is suspending use of conference and community spaces by the public as well as volunteer services.

“As with other changes we are seeing in public accommodations across our community, Stephens Memorial Hospital recognizes that these new policies have an impact on the everyday lives of our patients and their families,” said Patstone. “The priority now is to slow the spread of this virus and to do everything possible to care for those most affected.”

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