Intermountain returns to more restrictive visitor policies

Jun 26, 2020, 10:58 PM | Updated: Jun 29, 2020, 3:09 pm
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The Utah Health Department provides new numbers every day detailing new cases of COVID-19. But the state's dashboard offers a deeper look into what the numbers mean.

SALT LAKE CITY — All Intermountain Healthcare hospitals and clinics in Utah and Idaho will return to more restrictive visitor policies, beginning Monday, June 29, at 7 a.m.

In a statement, Intermountain cited for the change the rise in COVID-19 cases in Utah, as well as a higher rate of positive tests and increased hospitalizations.

As of June 26, 2020, the Utah Department of Health reported 676 new cases of COVID-19. That day’s total broke the previous record of 643 new cases of COVID-19 set on June 20, 2020.

On Friday, June 19, Utah state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn sent a memo to state health officials citing her concern for rising COVID-19 rates since the state moved from “Orange” to “Yellow” risk level.

Visitors generally prohibited

A statement sent to KSL Newsradio indicated that, with the stricter policies, visitors will generally be prohibited in hospitals and emergency rooms.

Otherwise, visitors will only be allowed under specific circumstances. And special accommodations will be made for patients who are children, mothers in labor, and adults who need assistance.

“We understand communicating with loved ones is an important part of a patient’s healing process,” said Shannon Phillips, MD at Intermountain Healthcare. “We encourage people to communicate electronically with patients through phone calls, video chats, or texting, which are great alternatives to help patients feel loved and connected.

“If patients don’t have access to technology or need assistance, our care teams can help provide devices or technical support.”

The new Intermountain visitor policies outline when and how many visitors will be allowed. Mothers in labor will be allowed one designated visitor throughout their stay. Nobody but both parents will be able to visit a healthy newborn while in the hospital.

There are also restrictions for patients at the end of life that limit how many visitors will be allowed at a time, and the age of the visitor.

Timeline of changes to Intermountain visitor policies

Intermountain began restricting visitors as a method for reducing exposure to COVID-19 on March 9, 2020

The hospital network updated its restrictions again on April 10, 2020.

By May 22, 2020, the IHC network announced they’d relaxed a few of their visitor restrictions, including allowing visitors for non-COVID-19 patients. 


How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus is transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A

Utah’s Coronavirus Information

UtahState Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States

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Intermountain returns to more restrictive visitor policies