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Cary Medical Center updates visitation policy

CARIBOU, Maine — In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cary Medical Center is asking patients and visitors to only use the emergency room entrance, where they will be screened prior to entering the building. The new policy is effective as of March 26.

Rehabilitation and one-day surgery patients can enter via those areas of the hospital, but they will also be screened before entering the building. The hospital, in a release issued on March 25, reiterated that all other patients and visitors will need to take the emergency room entrance. 

The policy implemented on March 16 is still in place. This includes asking visitors to not come to the hospital, even if they have very mild respiratory tract symptoms such as a cough, sore throat or fever. 

In order to comply with national and state CDC guidelines, the hospital is asking untested individuals to handle symptoms by speaking with their primary care providers, who will instruct them on management of the symptoms and to prevent spreading the illness. The emergency room is being solely designated to those who have life-threatening emergencies.

The hospital advised those who are in an emergency situation to call 911. 

And although there have been no confirmed cases in Aroostook County as of March 26, Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shaw has advised Maine residents to take precautions and assume the virus has reached all parts of the state. 

As part of the hospital’s new policy, patients suspected of having the virus are not allowed to have any visitors except for one parent of a minor child or in the case of end-of-life care.

In a letter addressed to the public, Cary Medical Center CEO Kris Doody, RN, commended the staff at the hospital as well as the people of Aroostook County for stepping up in the face of a pandemic that nobody could have predicted.

“As extraordinary and remarkable as this virus has been it is nothing compared to the incredible response of our entire organizations at Cary and Pines,” Doody wrote. “The unique and collaborative relationship that has often been called a model for the nation is truly paying massive dividends during this public health crisis. We often speak of Cary and Pines being ‘family,’ well we are putting that ‘family’ to the test and we are surpassing all expectations. To say that I am proud of how our staff has responded would be a gross understatement.”

Doody thanked the volunteers who have stepped up to work in multiple areas on all shifts, and the business community for providing coffee, breakfast and pizza to the facility’s staff.

“Please know that your community recognizes your tireless and courageous performance during this menacing time,” she concluded. Again, our sincere thanks and Godspeed. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.”

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