PRESQUE ISLE — Northern Light AR Gould Hospital announced today that it will adjust its visitation policy at the hospital due to the increased number of COVID-19 cases in our community. This change is effective Thursday, Aug. 26.

“Our top priority is to protect the health and safety of our patients, staff, and community. That’s why at this time, we find ourselves once again needing to scale back our visitation policy,” said President Greg LaFrancois. “We know how important visits are for both our patients and their families. With that in mind, we are doing all we can to keep visits an option in a more restricted, safer manner.”

The first change was put in place on Saturday, Aug. 21, as the hospital’s Emergency Department struggled with an influx of potential COVID patients. The decision was made to temporarily stop allowing visitors in the ED to limit potential exposure and to allow more space for physical distancing for those waiting to be seen. Exceptions were made for pediatric, special needs, or end of life patients. After the weekend, the decision was made to keep the ED closed to visitors other than the stated exceptions until further notice. 

Hospital leaders have been carefully evaluating the full visitor policy in light of the current COVID-19 circumstance in Aroostook County and have determined for safety concerns to make some changes for inpatient visitors as well, according to LaFrancois.

  • Patients in the Medical/Surgical, Inpatient Rehabilitation, and Specialty Intensive Care Units will now be limited to one person per day. Visiting hours will now be 8 a.m. to noon daily.  Visitors can stay as long as they like during those four hours, but once they leave, they cannot return until the next day.  The patient’s one daily visitor can be a different person on different days.
  • The visitor policy for the Women & Children’s Unit has not changed. One support person continues to be allowed with an expectant mother for the duration of her stay, and one parent or guardian at a time can stay with a pediatric patient, alternating once a day. 
  • Visitors continue to be restricted from accompanying patients in hospital areas such as Day Surgery, Lab, Imaging, and Rehabilitation, other than specific exceptions, such as those coming in as support for pediatric or special needs patients. 
  • Visitors also continue to be restricted in all outpatient practices, unless it is a parent accompanying a minor child, an individual assisting a patient with special needs, a support person with an oncology patient during a provider appointment, or a partner with an obstetrics patient having an ultrasound.

All visitors and patients at any AR Gould facility must wear a medical-grade mask which will be provided by the hospital for the duration of their visit. They must also be screened upon arrival, including a temperature check; hand sanitize; and follow physical distancing guidelines.