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YRMC resumes elective surgeries, eases visitation restrictions

Dignity Health-Yavapai Regional Medical Center announced Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, that they are beginning to lift their ban on non-emergency and elective surgeries, and will begin easing visitation restrictions due to COVID-19. (Courier file photo)

Dignity Health-Yavapai Regional Medical Center announced Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, that they are beginning to lift their ban on non-emergency and elective surgeries, and will begin easing visitation restrictions due to COVID-19. (Courier file photo)

As the COVID-19 patient load is beginning to slow down, Dignity Health-Yavapai Regional Medical Center on Thursday announced it is beginning to lifts its ban on non-emergency, elective surgery and visitation at both its Prescott and Prescott Valley campuses.

The restrictions put in place in late November were required due to a spike in COVID-19 patients that pushed the hospital’s capacity in recent months. The slowdown in spread, matched with more and more vaccinations, is starting to be viewed as a means to manage a virus that has proven deadly to half a million people in this nation.

In announcing this return to semi-normal operations Thursday, Feb. 25, hospital leaders are clear it is done with utmost caution and with the caveat that another spike could require the hospital to revisit these plans. Visitors will still be limited to one adult over age 18 per non-COVID adult patient; pediatric patients can have visits with two parents or guardians, including those who might be in a COVID-19 unit, officials explained.

A news release specified that hospital leaders will be monitoring the situation closely for any rise in COVID-19 infection rates.

Schools in the area are returning to either full-instruction or modified hybrid status with more days in classrooms, and more businesses are beginning to reopen their doors.

More vaccine doses are promised, and the Yavapai County Community Health Services is monitoring that progress as well as continuing to analyze data on new cases.

This is all welcome news, yet civic, education and health leaders all advise that vigilance is still required because herd immunity is yet to be achieved, and even when vaccinated people can still spread the virus.

Masks, physical distancing efforts and frequent handwashing and disinfection are still considered everyday protocols for everyone, leaders advise.

At YRMC, leaders are eager to offer families the chance to visit their sick loved ones so they are not left alone while still protecting the health and safety of staff and patients in their various departments.

“Ensuring peace of mind and peace of heart for our patients and visitors is always our top priority at YRMC,” said Ken Boush, director of marketing and communications, Dignity Health, Yavapai Regional Medical Center in the news release.

This hospital, like others across Arizona, are operating in a color-code mode for visitation: green as the least restrictive with conventional visitation, yellow allows for day time and early evening visitation, red allows for just four hours of visitation and purple the most restrictive with visitation only in patient-specific circumstances, the release said.

At this time, YRMC is in the yellow zone that allows weekday and weekend visits between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. All visitors must have a temperature check and symptom screening as they sign-in at the front door where they will be given a hospital-approved mask.

Visitors will then be given a pass that must be with them while they are on the premises, the release said.

Restrictions remain in place for COVID-19 patients, with exceptions allowed for end-of-life visits and/or care planning for patients expected to be discharged to home or another health care facility, the release said.

Here are some of the other rules the hospital is imposing during this period:

• Patients hospitalized in non-COVID-19 units may choose one adult (18 or older) to be their designated visitor. One visitor per patient per day.

• Patients with disabilities that depend on the assistance of a family member or caregiver will be allowed to designate a support person (18 years of age or older) during their stay.

• Patients who come to the emergency room may have one adult visitor. Visitors will not be allowed entrance to the COVID-19 triage tents.

• Laboring mothers may have one support person with them. For additional visitation questions relating to YRMC’s Family Birthing Center, please call 928-442-8800.

• Outpatients and inpatients going for surgery, or an invasive procedure, may have one adult support companion (18 years of age or older) accompany them to the perioperative area, wait during the procedure or surgery, and see them, as appropriate, post-operatively.

• There are special circumstances that may be deemed an appropriate exception.

“Although there are limitations on the number and type of visitors to our hospitals and emergency department, we understand that communicating with loved ones and friends is an important part of a patient’s healing,” Boush said in the release.

“We continue to encourage visitors to communicate electronically or by phone with patients. Video chat, voice, and texting options are digital alternatives, and can help you stay connected with your loved one.”

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