Healthcare Systems Update Visitation and Other Procedures in Response to COVID-19

Mar 12, 2020

South Dakota’s three largest healthcare systems are announcing new visitor policies and other precautions against the spread of coronavirus. All new procedures take effect within the next week. 

Monument Health, Sanford and Avera released statements on their responses to COVID-19 on Thursday.

Monument Health has been limiting patient visitors since last week. Now, patients whose visitors must wear protective gear like gowns and facemasks must name one designated visitor who can see them. As of Thursday, visitors are not allowed at Monument’s Custer Care Center, Assisted Living in Custer, or its Sturgis Care Center.

Good Samaritan Society, which is now a part of Sanford Health, has instituted no-visitation policies for all its senior living locations. Only employees and essential personnel are allowed, though Sanford is working with families with end-of-life needs on a case by case basis.

Starting Friday, Sanford is restricting visitation in all other locations to immediate family members, and to one visitor at a time. Staff will screen each visitor as they enter for respiratory illness symptoms and ask about recent travel.

Avera is allowing only one visitor at a time for its patients starting next week. Those visitors cannot have flu-like symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19. Avera is also not recommending visitors to long-term care centers, but tells families to consult with local facilities for patients in hospice and end-of-life care.

Healthcare professionals are urging those who believe they have coronavirus symptoms to call their healthcare providers first to determine if they should receive testing.