SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Sanford Health has announced a new visitor policy to protect the health and safety of its patients and staff in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new policy, which will take effect on March 13, is intended to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in Sanford Health clinics and medical centers and the communities we serve. The new policy will restrict all visitors to immediate family members only and will only allow one visitor per patient. Family members who visit a Sanford Health facility will be screened as they enter to check for respiratory illness symptoms (fever, cough and shortness of breath) and will be asked about recent travel. Access will be limited to a few specific entry points in each facility. The new visitor policy follows guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. “The patients who enter our doors become family, and we will continue to look out for each other during this time,” said Allison Suttle, M.D., chief medical officer for Sanford Health. “It is important that we all do our part to prevent this illness from spreading in our communities by practicing good hygiene and staying home if we are sick. Let’s continue to take care of each other.” On March 10, the Good Samaritan Society, which is part of Sanford Health, also announced updated visitation policies in all its senior living locations and services. Sanford is restricting visitations to keep residents and employees safe and healthy. During this time, only those who need to enter long-term care facilities such as employees and essential personnel will be allowed to do so. Sanford is working with families who have critical needs on a case-by-case basis. These updated visitation policies follow recommendations from the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs also announced a “no visitor policy” at all of its nursing homes this week. If you have COVID-19 symptoms please call your regular clinic — do not come in person to the clinic in order to protect staff and other patients. When you call your clinic, health care professionals will determine if you need testing.
Here’s how you can protect yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19:
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Immediately wash hands.Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.If you are sick, limit close contact with others as much as possible.Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.