Franklin Memorial Hospital issued new restrictions on its visitor policy Thursday, Feb. 10. Franklin Community Health Network photo

FARMINGTON — Franklin Memorial Hospital issued new restrictions on its visitor policy Thursday, Feb. 10, to prevent the community spread of COVID-19, Jill Gray of communications and public affairs said in a news release.

Barring exceptions, visitors and escorts are not allowed in the hospital. The exceptions are:

• Two parents or guardians are allowed in all areas for pediatrics, but social distancing must be maintained at all times.

• Two support people older than 18 are allowed to be with patients during labor and delivery.

• One support person is allowed to be with a patient following childbirth. The patient is also allowed one additional visitor, over 18 years old, daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• For all other inpatient areas including critical care, one person over 18 years old can visit a patient for the specified visiting hours. Exceptions can be made at unit admission or during care-plan discussions.


• Patients on palliative care/comfort measures are allowed two visitors at a time. Visiting hours are managed by the care team.

• End-of-life patients likely to pass within 24 hours are allowed up to four visiting family members. Hours will be managed by the patient’s care team.

Any visitors in the hospital must: only go to and from a patient’s room; stay 6 feet from all people, including the patient, whenever possible; use hand hygiene before entering and exiting a patient’s room; and mask while in the facility.

Though there are these exceptions, no visitors are allowed for patients in isolation for COVID-19 infection or being evaluated for COVID-19 infection, except for end of life. Visitors are also “not allowed in any units with an active COVID-19 outbreak.”

Franklin Community Health Network had previously implemented additional visitors restrictions in August 2021 amid a previous spike in COVID-19 cases. In those restrictions, outpatient adults in the emergency department were allowed to be accompanied by one person. That is no longer the case.

Other notable changes to the policy include different visitor hours, that patients may now be accompanied by a loved-one in a pre-op area and postpartum mothers are permitted an additional visitor, according to Ryan Mastrangelo, the director of communications and public affairs for Franklin Community Health Network.

Mastrangelo said in an email that “the changes were made because we’re seeing signs that the covid surge is beginning to improve.”

It’s not entirely clear how high the COVID-19 case rate in Franklin County is at this time. The Maine Center for Disease Control “has been deemphasizing case counts in recent weeks as a way to measure current pandemic conditions” due to a large backlog of positive COVID-19 tests, according to the Portland Press Herald. The wider-availability and shift to at-home COVID testing has additionally muddied the waters of CDC case counts.

“Maine’s daily case counts have been artificially low,” according to the Portland Press Herald.

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