Earlier this year, Essentia Health Duluth announced a revision to its mask policy, moving to a voluntary masking policy for most staff, patients, and visitors.

As time went by, they continued to monitor existing policies that were in place, and this week they announced another policy change that is related to hospital visitors.

In their new release, Essentia Health said they decided to make the policy change because they acknowledge the vital role that family and other support visitors persons play in the care and well-being of their patients.

Therefore, Essentia will no longer enforce limits on the number of visitors in most hospital inpatient units, nor will there be set visitor hours in our hospitals. They will encourage care teams to make decisions based on their patients’ needs or current circumstances.

According to the new guidelines:

  • Essentia Health will welcome visitors anytime a patient wishes to receive them, noting that some departments or situations may require limited visitation for safety or other reasons.
  • Children under the age of 16 should always be accompanied by an adult.
  • People should not visit if they are sick or have a contagious condition.
  • They reserve the right to determine if other situations make it necessary to limit visitation.
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Essentia adds that their emergency departments, behavioral health units, surgical/procedural areas, and neonatal intensive care units will continue to have specific guidelines. It’s also important to note that visitors who are interfering with the work of our care teams may be asked to leave, regardless of these guidelines.

Essentia will continue to follow personal protective equipment requirements for those visiting COVID-19 patients. Visitors should remain in the room and should always be wearing an N95 mask. Because N95 masks will fit only older children, a level 1 surgical mask should be worn by children who cannot wear an N95. Hand hygiene should be performed before and after the visit.

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