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Providence Alaska relaxes visitation guidelines amid lower COVID-19 cases

Published: Mar. 2, 2022 at 4:20 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - With COVID-19 case counts falling throughout the state, Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage is shifting its visitation guidelines.

In the past few months, Alaska went from a high of more than 3,600 cases reported to the state with an onset date of Jan. 24, to a little more than 200 cases reported with an onset date of March 1.

While it’s still considered a high level of transmission, officials say that they expect the trend to keep falling. Because of this, the visitation levels at Providence Alaska are going from red to orange, allowing more visitors to a wider variety of hospitalized patients.

“If you look over the past two years,” Providence Chief Medical Officer Dr. Michael Bernstein said. “We had a pattern of reducing visitation, then opening it back up when we could, and then another surge would come and we would have to reduce it. So we were always trying to allow as much visitation as we could do safely.”

At the previous level red, patients over the age of 18 were not allowed visitors, with the exception of maternity and end of life care. Now with the level reduced to orange, patients can have one visitor. Bernstein feels that Alaska has gotten to a point in the pandemic where the virus has become more manageable due to vaccines. While he would like to go all the way down to a level green, the transmission levels are still too high. For staff at Providence, it’s a balancing act of risk and safety.

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