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St. Charles bars visitors and volunteers, delays elective surgeries

Only certain exceptions, starting Saturday; no one under age 12

(Update: Volunteers also directed to not come in)

BEND, Ore. – To protect patients and caregivers and to preserve critical safety supplies, St. Charles Health System announced Friday it is "adopting significant changes in both visitor restrictions and care guidelines at all of its hospitals."

“This is a difficult decision, but for the health of our community and all those who need to be present in the hospital, we have made the tough decision to limit access,” said Aaron Adams, president of the Bend and Redmond hospitals.

As an alternative to visiting a family member or friend at a St. Charles facility, please telephone or video call them, the hospital said.

St. Charles Health System also confirmed Saturday that about 500 volunteers who help at the region's four hospitals in various ways also have been told not to come in, starting Monday.

"We are looking at it as the same as our visitor restrictions, so it is indefinite at the moment," spokeswoman Kayley Mendenhall told NewsChannel 21.

Unless an exception below is satisfied, visitation will not be permitted starting Saturday, and will continue for the foreseeable future. For safety considerations, no visitors below age 12 will be allowed on premises. Further, no visitors will be allowed to visit patients in isolation for infection prevention. 


  • Obstetric, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and pediatric patients may have one visitor accompany them.
  • Patients who are at end of life may have one visitor at a time.
  • Patients undergoing surgery or procedures may have one visitor who must leave the hospital as soon as patient recovery is complete.
  • Patients who have an appointment at a St. Charles clinic, laboratory, radiology, or who are seeking care in the Emergency Department, may have one person with them if required for physical or mental assistance.
  • Case-by-case exceptions will be considered by the unit’s nurse manager based upon unusual circumstances. 

Guests who meet one of these exceptions will be allowed inside the hospital, but are restricted to the patient’s room and direct travel to and from the patient’s room and hospital entrances/exits, unless clinically required diversions are necessary, such as to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription. 

Entrance screenings:

St. Charles caregivers are performing respiratory illness screenings at the entrances of all St. Charles hospitals and clinics. Caregivers and approved visitors will be subject to these screenings by answering a series of questions. St. Charles hospitals will restrict visitor access to main entrances and Emergency Department entrances only. Caregivers will be asked to enter in an alternate designated entrance. 

Elective procedures:

Elective surgeries and other select non-urgent outpatient services will be postponed starting Friday for the next two weeks, through March 28. Patients who are impacted by this decision will be contacted by the health system or their physician with additional details. We will review and revisit this decision as the situation with COVID-19 continues to evolve.

About St. Charles Health System

St. Charles Health System, Inc., headquartered in Bend, Ore., owns and operates St. Charles Bend, Madras, Prineville and Redmond. It also owns family care clinics in Bend, Madras, Prineville, Redmond and Sisters. St. Charles is a private, not-for-profit Oregon corporation and is the largest employer in Central Oregon with more than 4,200 caregivers. In addition, there are more than 350 active medical staff members and nearly 200 visiting medical staff members who partner with the health system to provide a wide range of care and service to our communities.

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

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