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PeaceHealth reinstates ban on visitors as COVID-19 activity increases
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PeaceHealth reinstates ban on visitors as COVID-19 activity increases

PeaceHealth St. John COVID-19 unit

PeaceHealth St. John nurse Tammy Patterson paces a hallway inside the hospital's isolation unit, where COVID-19 patients are treated, on Tuesday, March 9 in Longview.

PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center is banning visitors for most hospital and clinic patients beginning Friday as COVID-19 activity increases in Cowlitz County.

The decision was made to help ensure the safety of patients, the community, and hospital and clinic caregivers, according to a Thursday press release.

“This is a difficult decision for us as we recognize the hardships this causes to have loved ones in our hospital that you are unable to visit,” Chief Administrative Officer Cherelle Montanye said in the press release.

“Our priority is safety, and the continued rise in COVID cases over the past few weeks has led us to take these steps that we recognize are challenging and frustrating for many of us.”

PeaceHealth lifted its ban on visitors March 23 as the hospital’s COVID-19 patients decreased.

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Cowlitz County reported 30 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, bringing its total to 4,839. As of Thursday morning, three COVID-19 patients were hospitalized at PeaceHealth St. John.

The county recorded 225 new cases per 100,000 people from March 14 to 27, up from 141 per 100,000 from March 2-15, according to the state Department of Health.

The county recorded 4.6 newly hospitalized COVID-19 patients from March 13 to 19, up from 1.8 patients per 100,000 from March 11 to 17, according to the state.

Social gatherings drive rise in Cowlitz County COVID-19 cases

Any exceptions to the visitor policy will be made at the discretion of the PeaceHealth St. John clinical care leadership, the press release states.

“We did not take this decision lightly and are hopeful the upward trend of COVID cases in our community reverses itself soon,” Montanye said. “With the supply of vaccines increasing and eligibility to all adults opening up on April 15, I strongly encourage members of our community to schedule their COVID vaccinations if they haven’t already done so.”

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