CHI St. Alexius Health Williston announced updates to their visitation guidelines and changes to COVID-19 testing options, effective Wednesday, Aug. 25.

CHI said the changes are in response to a significant increase in COVID-19 cases within the state and in Williams County.

“Basically we’re going to go back to last summer a year ago when we had to really tighten up visitation,” CHI Chief Medical Officer Dr. Wayne Anderson told the Williston Herald. “Certainly there’s an increase in the number of people that are showing up that are testing positive. Some of them are sick enough that they have to be hospitalized, and the sickest ones are still getting transferred out. The situation is critical across the country, not just here in Williston. It’s worse in a lot of other places.”

CHI St. Alexius Health’s new visitation guidelines are as follows:

Hospital

Each patient is allowed one support person/visitor every day 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. All visitors must be over the age of 18. Visitors may rotate. Exceptions are as follows:

• Visitation hours do not apply for pediatric patients, patients with physical, cognitive, and/or behavioral issues, surgical patients, and OB patients.

• Visitation hours do not apply for patients experiencing end of life care.

• In light of our Catholic heritage, staff will make every attempt to accommodate the wishes of patients for clergy to visit when requested.

No one will be allowed to visit patients who have tested positive for COVID-19. However, virtual visits are encouraged. Exceptions are as follows:

• COVID positive pediatric patients may have one (1) support person.

• COVID positive OB patients may have one (1) support person.

• COVID positive patients who are experiencing end of life care may have two visitors.

• Support persons and visitors must stay in the patient room.

• Visitation hours do not apply.

Clinic, Emergency Department, and Outpatient Appointments

• Patients are allowed one support person.

• Minor children are not considered a support person, but may accompany the patient and/or parent.

Cancer Center Appointments

• Patients are allowed one support person.

• Support persons must be 18+ years or older

CHI stated that persons unable or unwilling to follow the hospital’s guidelines for the entirety of their visit will be asked to exit the facility.

COVID-19 Testing

Due to the rapid increase in COVID-19 testing and the growing shortage of test kits, CHI is making the following changes:

• CHI will test inpatients, all admissions, outpatient surgical and procedures, symptomatic clinic patients, symptomatic employees, and ER patients in house.

• All non-symptomatic clinic patients, including walk-in, and pre-procedure tests from outside entities will be sent to an outside lab. Patients being admitted from the clinics will receive same day testing.

• Travel COVID-19 tests are currently not available.

Anderson said with the increasing number of cases, he encourages people to wear their masks, especially when with large crowds indoors.

“It will help to limit your exposure, whether you’re exposing somebody or being exposed,” he explained.

Additionally, Anderson said while it will not prevent you from getting the virus, those who are able to get vaccinated should, as it will help minimize any COVID symptoms should one become infected.

“None of the vaccines will keep somebody from getting COVID, it will just keep you from getting as sick.” Anderson said. “If you’ve been vaccinated, your chances of getting COVID are not nearly as great, and, for those that do get it, their chances of being admitted to the hospital are even less.”

CHI St. Alexius Health will continue to monitor the COVID-19 infection rates and supply availability and will update guidance on an ongoing basis.

For up-to-date information on visitation guidelines, COVID testing and vaccinations, visit www.chistalexiushealth.org/locations/williston or www.facebook.com/CHIStAlexiusHealthWilliston.

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