Effective March 1, Southwest Health System will relax visitor guidelines to allow one screened, designated visitor to accompany patients for all medical services.
One screened, designated visitor will also be allowed for patients being treated at the inpatient wing of Southwest Memorial Hospital. That visitor can visit only once per day, but can stay as long as he or she wants between the hours of 12 p.m. and 8 p.m.
In an effort to limit spread of the virus, SHS to this point has only allowed a visitor or companion into facilities under very limited circumstances. These include situations like when patients are minors or are unable to communicate for themselves.
The decision was made after recent developments in Montezuma County’s bout with the virus. According to data from the Montezuma County Department of Public Health, active cases have dropped, there were no new reported outbreaks this week and a series of previous outbreaks were recently resolved. The county has also made significant headway in its vaccination campaign.
“We are very pleased to see the recent trend in improving COVID statistics in Montezuma County,” SHS CEO Tony Sudduth said in a statement Thursday afternoon. “With this trend and the growing number of those vaccinated in the community, we feel confident that we can safely start to relax visitor restrictions for our facility. We will continue to evaluate the situation and make adjustments as needed.”
According to a news release, concierges at SHS will continue to perform temperature screenings at designated entrances. Patient entrances are limited to the hospital main entrance, the emergency room and the medical office building entrance.
The SHS cafeteria will remain closed to the general public.
Anyone entering SHS facilities over the age of two must wear a face covering or mask.
Travel throughout the facility remains limited. Patients and their visitors must remain in the area in which they are receiving care.
Those being seen for symptoms consistent with COVID-19 will be separated from other patients.
SHS Executive Assistant Bridgett Jabour told The Journal that while the previous restrictions were challenging, SHS felt that they were necessary to keep facilities safe.
The new guidelines will allow patients to have moral support and another person to ask questions to doctors.
“With the way that the dynamic is changing as far as the positives in the community, our COVID-19 team felt like this was the best thing to do,” Jabour said. “It’s just great to have someone there with you.”
SHS encourages patients to utilize online bill pay options or to pay by phone at 970-5640-2311.
Patient financial services and medical records will be available by appointment only.