Tomah Health has ended COVID visitor restrictions at all its facilities. Hospital chief nursing officer Tracy Myhre, MSN, RN, announced the visitor policy change following a meeting of the hospital’s COVID Recovery Committee June 14. “COVID numbers are down and many of the Safer at Home orders have been lifted; unfortunately with COVID prior to this we needed to be careful on how many people we had in our buildings,” Myhre said.
Visitors to Tomah Health, along with its Warrens Clinic and Hospice Touch / Palliative Care facilities will still need to wear a mask. “We are still a health care organization and we follow the CDC guidelines. Currently the CDC still requires health care organizations to maintain masking,” Myhre said. “It really is not feasible for us to validate if someone is vaccinated, so the safest thing for us and our patients is to make sure people are always masked when in our buildings.”
Tomah Health first restricted visitors over a year ago, thereby limiting the number of people that could be with family and friends. “We found different ways to connect people with their family and friends using technology, but I think having somebody at your bedside is something people have missed,” Myhre said.
Despite the positive news, Myhre said the COVID pandemic is not over. “The pandemic is not over and that is really hard for some people. You go out into the public and see many people not masking and people want to think that we are done and can move on, but we still have hospitalizations and people dying of this pandemic,” Myhre said. “People don’t have to die from this. We need to get more people vaccinated and maintain safety where we can.”
Tomah Health has administered more than 6,353 vaccinations to hospital staff and area residents since the end of December. The Monroe County Health Dept. has reported that 33.7% of county residents are fully vaccinated, while 73.3% of residents 65 years and older are fully vaccinated.“We have vaccinated a large number of people in the community but there are still people who are not vaccinated and we do know that vaccines are the way out of this pandemic. We need to get more people vaccinated,” Myhre added.
Residents interested in a COVID vaccine, are urged to visit the Monroe County Health Dept. web online registration form CLICK HERE or call the health dept. at (608) 269-8666.
“The pandemic has been very hard on people, so allowing visitors back in the building really does show that getting vaccines and doing the things that are recommended are helping us move forward and helping us to see a light at the end of the tunnel.” Myhre added that when possible, additional restrictions may be lifted. “There will come a time when masks will no longer be needed- that’s what we are hoping for … to see people’s faces again.”
For Additional COVID Information at Tomah Health, CLICK HERE.