Coronavirus concerns led Intermountain to make new visitation restrictions

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PROVO — On Monday, March 9, Intermountain hospitals, clinics and health facilities in Utah and Idaho began enforcing new visitation restrictions. 

Because of these new restrictions, the birth experience that Intermountain patient Mikayla Iverson was looking forward to for 37 weeks, will be much different than she’d hoped for or expected. 

The restrictions include the following:

  • If you are sick, please do not visit or accompany a patient.
  • Do not enter the facility except to seek care for yourself.
  • Only two visitors or companions of a patient may visit at a time and we strongly discourage any visitors or companions under the age of 18.
  • There will be no visitors allowed to patients who have confirmed or possibly have COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).
  • Please wash your hands or use alcohol sanitizer before and after leaving a patient room, exam room and a facility.

According to the Centers of Disease Control, the fewer people that come in and out of hospitals, the less of a risk there will be of catching or spreading illnesses. 

Even though the new restrictions are in place to keep patients, caregivers and visitors from getting sick, they certainly don’t make it easier on patients Iverson, who’s due any day now with her second child. 

 “The vision of having my daughter meet this new baby in the hospital was obliterated when we found out about this new policy,” Iverson said. 

She said she cried for hours after hearing the news. Then her sadness turned into determination. Iverson said she tried to find a loophole in the new policy. She even tried going to other local hospitals, but no one else would take her insurance. 

Since she has no other option, Iverson will make due with giving birth to her baby with only her husband and doula in the room. 

These visitation guidelines are based on both the Utah Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control national guidelines. 

The initial reports said that children with COVID-19 aren’t getting sick, but they can still be carriers. 

Because they can be carriers of the illness, Intermountain said it’s important that parents make sure to wash their kids’ hands and toys. If their kids are sick, parents should keep them at home.  

Daron Cowley, Intermountain’s media relations director, wanted to remind the public that if they feel like they have coronavirus, they should NOT show up at a clinic or hospital. They should assess their symptoms at home, then call the free Health Answers call-in line at 844-501-6600. People can also get a free screening at intermountaincoonectcare.org.

Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Sometimes these symptoms can be confused with the common cold, which also includes a runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, fever and a general feeling of being unwell. 

Despite all these changes and restrictions, it’s hopeful to note that most people are at a low risk for contracting coronavirus. As long as they wash their hands, don’t travel to areas that are infected and STAY HOME when their sick, they should be just fine. 

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