Mary Greeley Medical Center announced plans on Tuesday to immediately lift some visitor restrictions after nine weeks without visitors as a result of COVID-19.


While some visitors, such as parents, guardians or significant others of those who gave birth were allowed to enter the hospital, the decision to restrict visitors on April 6 was not an easy one, Steve Sullivan, a spokesperson for Mary Greeley Medical Center said.


“It’s hard to tell people that they cannot visit a loved one in the hospital, and it’s something that we don’t like having to do,” Sullivan said. “Now we’re easing up on some of those restrictions, but we’ll still have measures in place to assure that no one infected with COVID-19 will enter the facility.”


The hospital’s new measures include the following:Visitors must pass screening at the hospital entrance to be allowed into facility.Visitors must be at least 16 years of age.Visitors must wear a mask at all times while they’re in the facility.No visitors will be allowed for patients who are COVID-19 positive or who are under investigation for COVID-19.


Social distancing will also be enforced by hospital officials, Sullivan said.


The new regulations also include expectations on when and who can visit patients at the health center:Outpatient Procedures and appointments, and Emergency DepartmentEach patient will be allowed one visitor.InpatientVisitors will be allowed between noon and 6 p.m.Visitors should remain in the patient’s room.Inpatient Visitor ExceptionsOne support person allowed for Birthways moms (no other visitors).Two parents/guardians allowed for patients under the age of 18 (no other visitors).Patients who are at the end-of-life (visitors allowed any time).


Hospital officials began evaluating the visitor policy once businesses in Iowa began reopening, but at the beginning of May, they believed it was not the appropriate time to do so. Now, however, Mary Greeley is following the leads of other hospitals across Iowa and easing up on some restrictions, Sullivan said.


“The economy is opening up again so there was a feeling within our facility that it was time to reevaluate our current policy. We reviewed it and noticed a number of the hospitals nearby are doing this as well, so we are on trend that way, but the key thing to emphasize here is that our safety focus remains as strong as it was, and will continue to be in place,” Sullivan said. “We are screening everyone, we are requiring everyone to wear a mask, and if you don’t pass our screening, you won’t be let in.”


Despite the visitor policy easing up at Mary Greeley, health officials within the hospital will be constantly evaluating the COVID-19 health situation within Story County and will adjust accordingly, Sullivan said.