Anchorage hospitals tighten visitor restrictions as COVID surge presses on

A sign on the side of a hospital building that says "Alaska Medical Center"
Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage. (photo by Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

Hospitals in Anchorage are tightening restrictions on visitors amid a rise in COVID-19 cases.

Starting Monday, Alaska Regional Hospital cut the number of visitors a patient can have. Visitors are no longer allowed for adult inpatients or in the emergency room. One visitor is allowed for surgery, the imaging department, maternity services and in the neonatal intensive care unit. Children under 18 may have one caregiver present.

The hospital says it may allow for specific exceptions, such as assistance for a patient with a disability or religious visitation.

Meanwhile, Providence Alaska Medical Center moved its visitation policy to its strictest level last week. That means no visitors are allowed for appointments, the emergency department or hospitalized patients. One visitor is allowed during maternity services, end of life care and day surgery check-in and pick-up for adults. Patients at the end of life may have one additional visitor, for a total of two.

Providence also says that adult patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 are not allowed to have visitors unless they’re receiving maternity services or end of life care. At least one parent or guardian can visit patients under 18, regardless of the patient’s COVID-19 status.

On its website, Providence notes that a patient’s care team may make exceptions if a visitor is critical to physical or emotional care during an appointment.

The Alaska Native Medical Center also moved to its most restrictive visitor policy this month. No visitors are allowed except for day surgery drop-off and pick-up, for pediatric patients not in isolation and for maternity services. End of life visitors will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The hospital says its staff will use technology to connect patients to family members whenever possible.

According to state data, 87 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized in Alaska on Tuesday, and 57 of them were in Anchorage. Seven ICU beds were available in Anchorage.

Alaska Public Media

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