RAPID CITY, S.D. (Oct. 30, 2020) — Due to increasing community transmission of COVID-19 in western South Dakota, Monument Health will return to its no-visitor policy at all hospitals and emergency departments beginning Monday, Nov. 2, 2020.
The new policy does not apply to Monument Health clinics or outpatient surgeries and outpatient procedures at hospitals. In those cases, patients can be accompanied by one support person.
In hospitals, there are limited exceptions to allow a support person to accompany labor-and-delivery patients, patients under 18, patients with developmental disabilities and cases where patient education assistance is needed. Also there are exceptions for hospice and end-of-life care. Details are available on the monument.health website.
Visitors under these exceptions may visit from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. They will be screened, must wear a mask at all times, stay in the patient’s room and follow all staff instructions on protective equipment and hygiene.
“Monument Health takes seriously the need to protect our patients and staff, as well as the need to ensure the emotional well-being of patients during their illness and recovery process,” said Brad Archer, M.D., Chief Medical Officer at Monument Health. “Recent developments in the spread of the COVID-19 virus have informed our decision to take this step.”
Of the 22 western South Dakota counties, all but two — Jones and Ziebach — have substantial community spread, according to the South Dakota Department of Health. In the past week, the region has averaged nearly 270 new cases per day, and the number of Monument Health hospitalized COVID-19 patients has more than doubled since Oct. 1.
Patients are still able to stay in touch with friends and family via electronic means such as Google Hangouts, Zoom, Jitsi Meet or Apple FaceTime. In many cases, Monument Health hospitals have iPads available for patient use if patients don’t have their own devices. In addition, family and friends may send e-cards to their hospitalized loved one by visiting the Monument Health E-Cards web page. Cards are printed in the hospital and delivered with the patient’s meal.
From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Monument Health has updated visitor policies as conditions change. Since July 27, one visitor or support person has been allowed for hospitalized patients, surgery patients, emergency cases and clinic visits.
About Monument Health
Headquartered in Rapid City, S.D., Monument Health (formerly Regional Health) is a community-based health care system with a mission to make a difference, every day. The system offers care in 33 medical specialties and serves 20 communities across western South Dakota and in eastern Wyoming. With over 4,500 physicians and caregivers, Monument Health is comprised of 5 hospitals, 8 specialty and surgical centers and more than 40 medical clinics and health care service centers. Monument Health is a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network.