Officials from Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington announced Tuesday that temporary visitor restrictions would be implemented to prevent and limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Though the majority of people infected with the virus experience mild symptoms and recover, those at greatest risk are often cared for at Franklin Memorial and steps to protect them are necessary, according to Jill Gray, the hospital’s communications director.

New guidelines for visitors include the following: visiting hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., a limit of one visitor per patient for both inpatient and outpatient care, no visitors under the age of 18 since children can carry the virus without having symptoms and the main entrance will be the single point of entry in the hospital.

Care teams will make exceptions to these guidelines for end of life care and two parents or guardians are allowed for pediatric patients.

All visitors will be screened upon arrival to the hospital with one care team member at each entrance to ask a series of screening questions. These questions include whether visitors have a fever, a new cough in the last 14 days, shortness of breath, a sore throat or a runny nose.

Visitors will also be asked if they’ve been in close proximity to someone who currently has the virus or respiratory illness within the past 14 days.

Sick visitors may be asked to leave or re-directed to an appropriate point of care.

“We recognize that these new policies have an impact on the everyday lives of our patients, their families, our staff and the larger community,” Hospital President Trampas Hutches said in a press release. “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.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, there were 42 positive cases of coronavirus in seven counties across Maine but none in Franklin County.

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