WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — New policies are in effect for those visiting the Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown.

Beginning April 4, Samaritan Medical Center will allow patients to have two visitors per day. This applies to patients in the Medical, Surgical and Progressive units as well as the Intensive Care Units. Visitors must be present together. End-of-life patients are also permitted to have two persons with them at all times.

According to Samaritan, this decision was made after careful consideration and because COVID-19 hospitalizations rate remains stable in Jefferson County. This policy change replaces the February 28, 2022 policy modifications in which visitation was set to one visitor, per patient, per day.

Samaritan will require all visitors to be in good health and complete COVID-19 screening. Masks will remain required in Samaritan Medical Center, as well as proper hand-washing throughout the visit.

Visitors are restricted from leaving the patient’s room or designated waiting area and from accompanying patients to tests outside of their room.

If requirements are not met, the visitor or support person will be asked to leave the hospital facility. All visitors must enter through the main entrance facing Washington Street.

Additional guidelines for specific patient groups are listed below:

Hospital Inpatients

  • Two visitors per patient daily from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • One support patient is permitted at all times for patients with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities
  • Most visitation restricted to those 18 years and older

Emergency Department Patients

  • One support person over the age of 18 is permitted
  • The support person must remain in the patient’s treatment room for the entire visit
  • If a patient is admitted to an inpatient floor, support persons may accompany them to the room during inpatient visiting hours. If they are admitted outside of visiting hours, you must return during visiting hours.
  • Patients under the age of 18 may have two support persons with them at all times

Obstetric Patients

  • Two designated support persons per patient are permitted
  • Support persons may accompany the patient through labor, delivery and the immediate postpartum period
  • Support persons may leave and return once a day and be screened upon re-entry

Pediatric Patients/ Neonatal ICU

  • Two parents or guardians
  • Support persons may leave and return once a day and be screened upon re-entry

Surgical Services Patients

  • One designated support person is permitted per patient, two allowed for pediatric patients
  • Support persons must remain in a designated waiting area at all times
  • Outpatient procedure patient support persons will accompany the patient into the Surgical Services area
  • If a surgical patient becomes an inpatient and must stay in the hospital, support persons must follow general inpatient visitation guidelines once the patient has been discharged from surgical care

Inpatient Mental Health

  • Visitors must be 18 years of age or older
  • Only scheduled visitors will be allowed, visitors must make an appointment with the unit clerk
  • Visitation will take place in 30-minute increments
  • Visitation will be in the dining room and patients and visitors are required to always stay at the designated tables with masks on

Full guidelines are available on Samaritan Medical Center’s website.