Northwestern Medical Center, 3-31-2020 (copy)

Northwestern Medical Center is allowing fully-vaccinated visitors to enter the hospital if they abide by social distancing guidelines and wear masks.

ST. ALBANS CITY — Northwestern Medical Center is now allowing for patients to each have as many fully-vaccinated visitors in the hospital as they want as long as care can continue with the use of masks and the observation of social distancing, according to an announcement by the hospital Monday.

The news comes as favorable COVID-19 trends gain momentum. Gov. Phil Scott most recently said in his twice weekly press conference that due to the positive reception of Vermonters to get vaccinated and the number of doses administered, lifts on restrictions could be imminent.

“If we hit 80% [vaccinated], I’ll lift any remaining restrictions or mandates that day,” Scott said.

State officials said 74.9% of Vermont’s population eligible for vaccination has received at least one dose. In order to reach that 80% vaccination rate, 27,954 people need to be vaccinated, Scott said.

Of the eligible Vermonters remaining to be vaccinated, Scott said those age 18 to 29 could have the biggest impact on reaching the 80% goal. He said the daily vaccination average has been 2,500 after decreasing in recent weeks. However, even if the state were averaging 1,500 vaccinations per day, remaining restrictions could feasibly be lifted by June 8, Scott said.

Here are six things to know about the hospital’s new policy:

1. Number of visitors

Patients are allowed to have as many fully vaccinated visitors as can safely be accommodated by the care environment, though some clinics may have stricter limits regarding number of people to maintain social distancing

2. Number of unvaccinated visitors allowed

If the patient has communication needs, cognitive impairment, disability, requires assistance to acquire care or identifies a visitor as being a support person, a patient is allowed to have one unvaccinated person in the room.

3. Pediatric patient visitation

Pediatric patients are allowed to have one unvaccinated parent, guardian or support person visit or accompany them

4. Same-day surgery patients

Same-day surgery patients are allowed to have one unvaccinated visitor or support person escort them to surgery

5. Interpreters and clergy

Interpreters and members of the clergy are not considered visitors or support people and are considered members of the clinical care team.

6. Screenings to continue

Screening will continue at Northwest Medical Center for each visitor or support person upon entrance to the building.

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