Saint Agnes Medical Center in Fresno expands visiting policies

Visitors are being allowed back into Saint Agnes Medical Center in Fresno on a limited basis.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- For more than a year, family members have not been able to visit their loved ones inside of Saint Agnes Medical Center because of the pandemic.

On Monday, that changed.

"Unfortunately, you know, you drop them off and you don't know what's going to happen," said Juanita Gonzalez, whose daughter has been in the hospital since April 11.

The two have talked on Facetime, but Gonzalez says it's been hard on her to not be allowed inside.

"Coming to visit her is the best thing. It's the best medicine any patient can have -- their family there," said Gonzalez.

Monday was the first day Saint Agnes Medical Center allowed visitors for patients since the start of the pandemic.

"We're excited that the numbers in our county have come down enough that we can reinstitute a level of patient visitor policy," said Deanette Sisson, the Chief Nursing Officer at Saint Agnes Medical Center.

The hospital has put new guidelines in place for visitors:

  • Visiting hours are from 2-7 each day.
  • Everyone must check in at the patient registration entrance and must pass a health screening.
  • Only one visitor is allowed per patient, per day.
  • Mask are required and visitors are asked to maintain 6 feet of physical distance while visiting.
  • You must be 18 years or older.
  • Visitors to the Intensive Care Unit may only stay up to one hour each day.

"It's a way for us to allow that important connection, but still continue to keep risk at a minimum," Sisson said.

No visitors are allowed in the emergency room or in the COVID units.

In the maternity ward, two support persons are allowed per patient, per day, but only one person is allowed to stay the night.

Volunteers are also allowed to return to the hospital.

"The hospital can't wait for us to be back. I'm sure they were happy, happy campers this morning," said volunteer Georgette Mello.

Mello has been volunteering at the hospital for 29 years.

For the first time in more than a year, she and other volunteers will be returning to help with patients and visitors.

"It's giving back to the community and it's just a sense of fulfillment," said Mello.

For visiting family members like Juanita Gonzalez, she says being able to visit her daughter has given her some peace of mind as she waits for her to be discharged from the hospital.

"It's just, just elation because I can hold her and I see firsthand how well she is compared to what she was when I brought her in," said Gonzalez.

Hospital officials say the best thing to do is to call the hospital and check in with your loved one's nurse before you arrive.

That way you can make sure they're allowed to have visitors before you show up.
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