Owatonna Hospital

As of Wednesday, the Owatonna Hospital will be restricting all visitors from entering the facility following an announcement by Allina Health. The increase in restrictions is in a direct response to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases statewide. (File photo/southernminn.com)

As the COVID-19 cases in Minnesota continue to climb at an accelerated rate, Allina Health has moved their visitor status to red, meaning no visitors will be allowed in the facilities with very limited exceptions.

The healthcare provider announced Wednesday afternoon that the visitor guidelines have been further restricted to keep patients and staff safe. These restrictions will impact both Owatonna Hospital and District One Hospital in Faribault, where President David Albrecht said some restrictions were already in place.

“We have had visitor restrictions in place since the beginning of the pandemic in March,” Albrecht said. “These restrictions that are being implemented now are actually a return to many of the restrictions in place last spring. Restrictions were relaxed slightly over the summer and fall as the spread of the coronavirus was under control/stable.”

Albrecht reiterated that the increased restrictions are a precautionary measure to keep patients and employees safe during a time of an “outbreak escalation.” He added that both hospitals have electronic means available to allow patients and families to visit virtually.

“Compassionate exceptions can still be made in special circumstances to allow a face-to-face visit,” Albrecht said. According to the Allina Health website, compassionate care exception are made for patients who are actively dying, have a sudden decline in medical condition or are having surgery. The site states case-by-case exceptions are made with the clinical team, patient care manager, and/or house supervisor.

Those who are granted access to visit a loved one at the hospital will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19, must wear a mask, must have good hand hygiene and must practice physical distancing during the visit.

The announcement from Allina comes only two days the Northfield Hospital + Clinics announced that visitors were prohibited from their facilities. Compassionate exemption is also being considered there for patients at the end of life, cancer patients with a new diagnosis or at the end of treatment, and one adult support person for pediatric patients, patients with disabilities or dementia, and patients giving birth.

The Mayo Clinic Health System’s Southeast Minnesota Region implemented a no-visitor policy for all inpatient and outpatient facilities at the end of October. This includes all hospitals and clinics at all Mayo Clinic Health System locations in the region, with the exclusion of Rochester hospitals and clinics. Compassionate exceptions mirror that of the Allina Health and Northfield Hospital guidelines. The policy will remain in place until further notice.

Reach Reporter Annie Granlund at 507-444-2378 or follow her on Twitter @OPPAnnie. ©Copyright 2020 APG Media of Southern Minnesota.

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