Fairbanks Memorial Hospital enforces stricter visitation policy due to high COVID cases

Updated: May. 6, 2021 at 4:04 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Fairbanks Memorial Hospital has begun enforcing a stricter visitation policy due to the spike in COVID-19 cases in the Fairbanks North Star Borough.

According to Angelique Ramirez, Chief Medical Officer for Foundation Health Partners, the hospital was at a level three restriction previously but was more lenient. Ramirez explained, “We were allowing one visitor, but we were allowing people... if there was somebody who had come into town, we were allowing people to trade off. It might start off with one person in the morning, and another person mid-day, and another person at the end of the day, and the tradeoffs were becoming more and more frequent. The reality though is that just increases the amount of foot traffic, the amount of exposure into the facility, and so we have reverted back to one visitor and that person can choose to stay as long as they want - but if they leave, they leave.”

The recent large spikes in COVID-19 cases in the borough are the primary factor in this decision according to Ramirez, who explained, “The level three we are strictly enforcing, allows one visitor per patient. We really strongly believe that patients should have family and loved ones with them. We do think it’s part of the healing process. The reality though is because of the high transmission rate in the community, because of how it’s impacting the hospital, we have an obligation to protect our patients in the hospital and to protect our ability to serve the community. So we just cannot take any chances that anybody unknowingly or unwittingly would be bringing COVID into the hospital.”

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