The state’s largest hospital company is adjusting its policies for visiting pandemic-stricken patients.
On Monday morning, Intermountain Healthcare will announce changes to guidelines for visiting COVID-19 patients in its facilities statewide.
“If you have a loved one in the hospital with COVID, we’re going to allow you to come in and visit that person if you yourself have had previous COVID or have been vaccinated, you can then come in and visit your loved one that has COVID-19,” said Intermountain Healthcare infectious diseases physician Eddie Stenehjem. “The reason is we just learned more and more about the vaccine, and so we know that this vaccine keeps you safe and protects you from COVID-19.”
Visitors and patients will still be required to wear masks, he said.
“If you come in our hospital as a visitor, it’s still our responsibility to keep you safe,” he added. “We don’t want to put you at risk but we do feel based on the science that if you’ve been vaccinated, or you’ve been previously infected with COVID-19, you’re safe to visit somebody that has COVID as long as we continue to follow the proper precautions in terms of mask wearing.”
He said guidelines will continue to evolve as more is learned and solid data is gathered regarding patient and visitor safety.
Regarding the impending April 10 cessation of the statewide mask mandate, Stenehjem said how individuals handle the lifting of restrictions will be primarily an issue of personal responsibility.
“There’s not going to be any major difference in terms of community transmission April 10 versus April 9 versus April 2,” he said. “(The best way) to protect the community, to protect your neighbors and protect the people that you see in your community is to wear a mask. Wearing a mask is simple, doesn’t cost you anything, and going into a grocery store with a mask on, it’s just the right thing to do.”
Meanwhile, the Utah Department of Health reported Saturday the state has tallied a total 386,997 positive cases, including 447 new cases. Thus far, 1,481,363 total vaccines have been administered statewide, including 31,100 more reported from the previous day.
The rolling seven-day average for positive tests is 406 per day, with the rolling seven-day average for positive test results among individuals who have been tested registering at 6.8%.
Currently In Utah, there are 132 people hospitalized with COVID-19, with the total hospitalizations reported since the beginning of the outbreak at 15,593.
One new death was reported, sending the state’s pandemic-long total to 2,132. The patient was a male Utah County resident between 65-84 years of age who was hospitalized when he died.