ROCKPORT — Effective Friday, Aug. 20, in response to the COVID-19 status in the community, Pen Bay Medical Center and Waldo County General Hospital are implementing increased visitor restrictions.

This is being done to prevent further spread of the virus. Infectious disease experts agree that measures to contain the virus are most effective early in its spread. Although the majority of people infected with COVID-19 will experience mild to moderate symptoms and make a full recovery, COVID-19 is a serious threat for vulnerable populations, especially older people with underlying health conditions.

Given that these populations are often cared for at Pen Bay Medical Center/Waldo County General Hospital facilities, it is important to take all necessary steps to protect them, the health care centers stated in a news release.

“This necessary decision will allow us to minimize the chances of a COVID-19 outbreak in our facilities, protecting staff and patients as we work to provide a safe place for our community to get the health care it needs,” said Dr. Mark Fourre, the president of Pen Bay Medical Center and Waldo County General Hospital.

“We know this is difficult for patients and their family and friends who often play such an important role in the healing process,” Fourre said. “However, restricting visitors at this time helps to keep our patients safe so they can return to their families and friends without complications from COVID-19. Thank you to everyone for understanding and for continuing to do your part during the pandemic by wearing a mask, staying 6-feet apart and washing your hands frequently.”

The new visitors’ policy will take effect Aug. 20, and apply to Pen Bay Medical Center and Waldo County General Hospital until further notice. Visitors/escorts are not permitted in MaineHealth facilities except under the following circumstances:

Hospital Inpatient Areas:

  • Pediatrics: Two parents/guardians allowed in all areas, provided space is sufficient to achieve compliance with social distancing.
  • Obstetrics: One spouse/coach/Visitor. Doulas also permitted when the obstetrician is aware of their requested presence and they have been part of the prenatal process.
  • All other inpatient areas including critical care: One visitor daily from 11:00 – 8:00 PM each day. Exceptions may be made at the time of unit admission or for care plan discussions.
  • Patients on Palliative Care/Comfort Measures: Two visitors at any one time daily, during designated visiting hours. Exceptions may be managed by the care team.
  • End of Life in any inpatient area: Up to four family members may visit patients likely to expire within 24 hours (all areas) – visit times to be managed by the care team.
  • Pen Bay Medical Center Psychiatric Addiction Recovery Center Unit: Visitors not permitted.
  • Patients in isolation for COVID-19 infection or being evaluated for COVID-19 infection: No visitors except for End of Life.

Visitors will not be allowed in any units with an active COVID-19 outbreak.

Patient Discharges: Patients will be brought to an appropriate entrance for pick up.

Outpatient Surgery and Procedural Areas: Adult patients should arrange for drop-off and pick-up unless they need special assistance. Exceptions can be made in advance for patients who do not live locally. Pediatric patients may be accompanied by two parents/guardians, provided space is sufficient to achieve compliance with social distancing.

Emergency Department: One person permitted to accompany patient, provided space is sufficient to achieve compliance with social distancing. Pediatric patients may be accompanied by two parents/guardians, provided space is sufficient to achieve compliance with social distancing. Exceptions may be made for care plan discussions as arranged with the care team or for end of life.

Ambulatory/Diagnostic Areas: Adult patients may be accompanied by one person, provided space is sufficient to achieve compliance with social distancing. Pediatric patients may be accompanied by two parents/guardians, provided space is sufficient to achieve compliance with social distancing.

Patients Requiring Special Assistance: Patients in any care setting who need help, such as with mobility or communications with the care team about their medical history or care, may be assisted by an adult escort to provide the needed assistance or support, such necessity to be determined by the care team.

All visitors/escorts are subject to screening for COVID-19. Visitors/escorts with any COVID-19 symptoms will not be allowed to enter the Pen Bay Medical Center and Waldo County General Hospital facilities. Visitor/escorts must 1) perform hand hygiene prior to entering and upon leaving the patient’s room/care area; 2) wear a mask at all times in the facility; and 3) not go to any locations in the facility other than the room of the patient they are visiting.

Hospital cafeterias are closed to visitors.

These restrictions are for the protection of patients, employees, visitors and the public, and consistent with guidance from governmental authorities, and are adopted for the purpose of reducing the potential for propagation of the COVID-19 virus. These restrictions are imposed by order of the Chief Medical Officer’s and the Chief Nursing Officer.