Maine’s largest hospital will strictly limit visitation as it tries to prevent the spread of the coronavirus to sick and injured patients.

“Family and friends have an important role to play in the healing process,” Maine Medical Center President Jeff Sanders said in a statement Saturday. “But that needs to be balanced against the need to keep our patients, care team members and communities safe during this outbreak.”

Maine Medical Center and a Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

Starting immediately, patients will be limited to one visitor to the Portland hospital at a time. All visitors have to use the hospital’s main entrance or connector to the parking garage.

Every visitor and will be screened for potential symptoms of COVID-19, the respiratory disease the virus causes, or for contact with someone who has the disease or any other respiratory illness.

Visitation hours will be limited to 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week, the hospital said. Because children can carry the virus without symptoms, no one under age 18 will be permitted, it said.

Family meetings will take place with one in-person relative and others on a teleconference, it added.

In addition, all Maine Medical Center facilities are suspending the use of community and conference spaces by the public, as well as hospital volunteer services.

The new limits apply to Maine Medical Center and Maine Medical Partners, a department of the hospital.

While many people who contract COVID-19 may experience mild to moderate sickness, it can be serious for vulnerable populations, especially older people with underlying health conditions such as those it often cares for, the hospital said.

Maine Medical Center is licensed for 637 beds and employs more than 9,600 people.

“As with other changes we are seeing in public accommodations across our community, Maine Medical Center recognizes that these new policies have an impact on the everyday lives of our patients, their families and the larger community,” said Sanders.

“Our priority now is slowing the spread of this virus and doing everything to care for those most affected by it as safely as possible.”


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