Hospitals pause visitation amid COVID hotspot in E’town

Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake (Photo provided by Adirondack Health)

By the News staff

SARANAC LAKE — Following the temporary moratorium on face-to-face visitation at Mercy Living Center last week, Adirondack Medical Center officials announced Monday, Aug. 24 that they have stopped most hospital patient visitation for at least seven days.

Beginning Aug. 24, visitation is only permitted for maternity care partners and imminent end-of-life situations. There are currently zero COVID-19-positive patients at Adirondack Medical Center. The decision to temporarily restrict visitation was made in view of the continued spread of the virus in neighboring Essex County, as well as the increased number of Franklin and Essex county residents in precautionary quarantine due to potential exposure.

Adirondack Health will reevaluate the hospital visitation policy every seven days. As a reminder, only those essential to the care of patients will be permitted to accompany clinic and outpatient visits. Any exceptions to the policy will be made on a case-by-case basis.

To learn more, visit adirondackhealth.org/coronavirus. General questions about COVID-19 should be directed to the New York State Department of Health COVID-19 hotline: 888-364-3065.

Elizabethtown Community Hospital

On Tuesday, Aug. 25, the University of Vermont Health Network – Elizabethtown Community Hospital suspended visitation to its facilities. The temporary visitor policy change is a preventive measure to protect against the spread of COVID-19.

“The health and safety of our patients, staff, and community is our highest priority,” Elizabethtown Community Hospital Medical Director of Emergency Medicine and Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Clauss said in a press release. “We have been working with our neighbors at Essex Center and with the Essex County Health Department to closely monitor the recent outbreak and limit the spread of COVID in our community.

“Elizabethtown Community Hospital staff are well-trained in infection prevention measures, and we are prepared to care for our community while maintaining a safe environment of care.”

Since March, the hospital has implemented the following safety protocols:

– All employees arriving for work are screened with health questions and a temperature check.

– All arriving patients are screened at the front desk. Patients with symptoms or suspected exposure to a COVID-positive case are masked and treated in dedicated rooms.

– Strictly following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and New York State Department of Health guidelines on personal protective equipment. All employees are required to wear masks, including the front desk staff that perform patient screening upon arrival.

– Enhanced cleaning protocols, including frequent sanitization of high-touch surfaces.

– Staggering outpatient appointments to limit traffic in the hospital and health centers.

The visitor restriction is an added precaution that will further minimize the risk of potential exposure, said Clauss.

Special considerations for pediatric patients, end of life care patients, and patients with an intellectual, developmental, or cognitive disability are included in the updated visitor policy. The temporary suspension of visitors will be reassessed in the coming weeks to determine when it will be appropriate to return to limited visitation.

For updates and resources on COVID-19, please visit https://www.ech.org/COVID-19-Information-and-Updates.