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Strict visitor policies relaxed at Intermountain hospitals

FILE: Intermountain's Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George, Utah. (KSL-TV)

SALT LAKE CITY — Intermountain Healthcare is relaxing some of the strict policies it’s had in place during the pandemic to avoid exposing patients to COVID-19.

The most important change is that patients being treated for COVID-19 will now be allowed to have visitors — but only those who’ve either had a proven recovery from COVID-19 in the last 90 days or who’ve been fully vaccinated for at least two weeks.

Dr. Eddie Stenhjem, an infectious disease specialist with Intermountain Healthcare, said the improving situation in the community has allowed for a change in the guidelines.

“We can bring these visitors in now to support these patients, which is arguably one of the most trying times of their life,” Stenhjem told KSL NewsRadio.

Other changes include allowing two visitors for laboring mothers, with one allowed to stay in the postpartum room. Two visitors will be allowed for children, infants and newborns in intensive-care units, depending on the severity of the patient’s condition and treatments and if the child is COVID-19 positive. And patients at the end of life will be all0wed eight visitors, but only four in the room at one time.

Two visitors may also accompany a patient at Intermountain Healthcare outpatient clinics and InstaCare facilities.

Masks and hand sanitizers are still required for all visitors, with other protective gear required at the discretion of hospital personnel.

More detailed information about the updated policies for visitors is available here.

Dr. Stenhjem said there’s a general feeling of optimism among health-care providers about reducing COVID-19 cases in the community.

“We’re seeing our cases come down. We’re seeing our test positivity come down. We’re seeing our hospitalizations come down. We see our deaths go down. And we’re seeing our vaccinations in the community go up,” Stenhjem said.