LEWISTON — To ensure the safety of patients and staff during the rapidly evolving situation involving COVID-19, Central Maine Healthcare is postponing some elective surgeries and limiting access to its buildings, system officials said Saturday.

Starting Monday, some elective surgeries involving overnight stays will be put off until the virus hazard has been reduced. This would include bariatric and some orthopedic procedures. Necessary or required surgeries — Caesarean sections and heart valve repair, for example — would proceed. Same-day procedures like endoscopy and colonoscopy and minimally invasive surgeries, where the patient goes home within several hours, will continue as scheduled. Providers are reaching out to patients with this information.

This new policy will reduce the number of inpatients at the system’s hospitals and free up beds in the case of a surge of patients. It will also reduce the traffic in the hospitals, thus lowering the risk of virus transmission.

The system has also restricted access to its hospitals, prohibiting most visitors and reducing the number of entry points. At Central Maine Medical Center, patient access will be through the main entrance at 60 High St. Staff access has also been limited, officials said.

Other organizations in the Lewiston-Auburn area have also suspended some programming or closed their doors.

In a press release Friday, Steven Wallace, CEO of the YMCA of Auburn-Lewiston, said the [email protected], located at 12 High St. in Lewiston, has been closed until further notice. Wallace said the YMCA facility on 62 Turner St. in Auburn will remain open.

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Many of the organization’s programming has been reduced or  postponed. According to the release, all youth sports-based programs including Hoopsters, indoor T-ball and swim teams are also suspended until April 27.

“This step is being taken to mirror the decision made by our local schools concerning youth sports,” the release reads. 

Community-based partnerships like cheer practice and tumbling have also been suspended.

On Friday, Fryeburg Academy announced that it is suspending all in-person classes from March 17 to March 31. Classes will be conducted remotely through laptops and mobile devices. On Monday, the school will operate on a modified schedule to prepare students for the period of remote learning.


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