Visitor restrictions eased at Sanford Health as COVID numbers decline

Sanford Bemidji and Bagley are eliminating some of the COVID-19 related  visitor restrictions as of today.

According to a release, one visitor will be allowed per patient per day, and visiting hours will once again be from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“When we updated our visitor restrictions in December, we saw a high of 138 new cases reported and 23 hospital admissions over the course of two weeks in Beltrami County. As of last week, the two-week, new case rate is 35.74 and 6 patients were admitted to the hospital,” said Dr. David Wilcox, chief medical officer at Sanford Bemidji.

“Thank you to our patients and community members for your patience and understanding as we continue to balance the well-being needs of our patients and the necessary precautions to keep everyone safe.”

Sanford Health is scheduled to give a report to the Bemidji City Council this evening.

Effective 8 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 1, Sanford Bemidji and Sanford Bagley hospitals will implement the following guidelines for all visitors, including staff members and their families.

  • One visitor is allowed per patient per day.
    • Patients must choose one person who will be allowed to visit the patient each day during established visitor hours.
  • Visiting hours have been expanded to 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Visitors must still properly wear a surgical mask that covers their nose and mouth at all times, including while in the patient’s room.
    • Surgical masks will be provided and cloth masks are not allowed.
    • If a visitor refuses to comply and wear a mask, they may not be permitted to visit.
  • Visitors may only use public restrooms in the hospitals—not the restroom in the patient’s room.

Exceptions to this visitor policy update include:

  • Designated COVID-19 units—no visitors.
  • Pediatric hospital patients will be allowed two parent/guardian visitors per day.
  • Special Care Nursery patients will be allowed two parent/guardian visitors per day, both visitors must have newborn identification bracelets.
  • End-of-life patient visitors will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
  • End-of-life COVID-19 patients will be permitted one pre-determined visitor allowed daily. The visitor must follow protective measures including masking and self-quarantine for 14 days following their visit.
  • These changes to the visitor policy do not apply to senior living or clinic locations.

All visitors must be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 upon entry to the facility in accordance with current CDC and Minnesota Department of Health guidelines.

Anyone who is not feeling well, has recently had a known exposure to someone confirmed to have COVID-19, has a pending COVID-19 test or has been confirmed to have COVID-19 within the last 14 days, should not visit anyone in a hospital.


Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers events and issues in north central Minnesota, which include local government, crime, courts, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University and received her degree in 2018. Larissa, native to the great state of New York, grew up in Bemidji, and enjoys spending her spare time with her family and pet cat. She also loves Star Trek, punk rock music and the theater.


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