Critical Patient Updates

Stay updated on changes we’re making throughout our organization during this pandemic. Learn about closures, visitor restrictions, and changes that may impact you as a patient.

Appointments & Scheduling

We have started to resume performing elective procedures and surgeries. Our clinics have also put new policies into effect in order to provide in-person care when a virtual visit will not meet a patient’s care needs. We have put many practices in place to ensure Essentia facilities are safe to seek care and have these procedures done.

We recognize that during this time many patients have been eagerly awaiting a procedure or surgery and if you have additional questions or concerns please reach out to your provider.

Facility Updates & Closures

Facilities Closed to In-Person Visits

For everyone's safety, we're only offering remote care options. Get care by calling the clinic number below to schedule a virtual video visit.

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Closures

The following closures are in effect until further notice.

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Visitor Guidelines

Our top priority is the safety and well-being of our patients, staff and the communities we are privileged to serve. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Essentia Health has made the difficult decision to restrict visitors at our hospitals and clinics. This is being done to reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission to our patients and staff.

The decision to allow visitation is reassessed every day and may change.

Patients known or suspected to have COVID-19 will not be allowed visitors in any setting. Exceptions include pediatric patients, those for whom a support person has been determined to be essential to the care and safety of the patient and patients at end of life. In end of life situations, the visit should be scheduled.

Starting Monday, Nov. 23, our cafeterias will be closed to visitors. Permitted visitors can order cafeteria meals for delivery to the hospital room.

Essentia Health Hospitals

To protect our patients and staff, visitors are currently not allowed at our hospitals, with some exceptions for special circumstances. People who are sick or showing symptoms of COVID-19 are not allowed to visit patients.  Our care teams will help patients find other ways to connect with loved ones.

  • COVID-19 patients and suspect COVID-19 patients: 
    • Patients known or suspected to have COVID-19 will not be allowed visitors, except:
      • Pediatric patients
      • Those for whom a support person has been determined to be essential to the care and safety of the patient
      • Obstetric patients
      • Patients at end of life
    • In end-of-life situations, the visit should be scheduled. 
    • Visitors should remain in the room and always wear a mask and eye protection.
  • Inpatient units:  
    • People under the age of 18 may visit an immediate family member who is dying when they are screened and escorted by an adult. Otherwise, no visitors under age 18  will be allowed. 
    • One person may be present for plan-of-care discussions. When possible, these discussions will happen off the unit, but can occur at the bedside if necessary.  
    • One person may be present with a patient if this caregiver is needed for managing and navigating the care of the patient  
  • Emergency departments:
    • One adult visitor is permitted for vulnerable adults, trauma or other patients requiring communication to a health care team on their behalf. 
    • Two adult visitors are permitted for pediatric patients 
  • Pediatric units:
    • Two adult visitors are permitted per patient.
  • Labor and delivery units:
    • One support person plus a certified doula (for labor and delivery only) for each mom. 
  • Neonatal intensive care units:
    • Two parents are permitted to visit at a time.
  • Surgery
    • One visitor is permitted for a vulnerable adult, or other patient requiring communication to the health care team on their behalf.  
  • Care conferences:
    • Care conferences should be done through virtual methods if possible. If visitors are needed, up to two visitors will be allowed during the time of the conference.  
  • At end-of-life situations:
    • Additional visitors may be allowed. Generally, this would be limited to immediate family and significant others.  
    • Only two visitors at a time will be allowed. Visitors may be rotated and will be required to wait outside the facility until it is their time to see the patient. 
    • Visitation will be allowed past visiting hours.  
    • Decisions regarding any variance requested related to end-of-life visitation will be made by unit leaders and the patient’s primary physician.   
  • Access to faith leaders: 
    • In Essentia facilities with Essentia-employed chaplains, chaplains are available for ritual, support, prayer and assisting with virtual and phone connections. Essentia-employed chaplains are not subject to this visitor policy. 
    • A patient’s pastor or religious leader can visit COVID-19 negative patients and patients not suspected of having COVID-19 as long as the visit is not disruptive to patient care. Community clergy and religious leaders may visit COVID-19 positive and suspect patients only at the end of life or for compassionate care. These visits should be scheduled in advance.   

*Special considerations for individuals may exist at the discretion of the care team.

Essentia Health Clinics

Visitors are allowed, in the following circumstances:

  • Adult patients: one adult visitor is permitted.
  • Pediatric Patients: two parents/guardians are permitted with children under age 18

We understand visitors are often needed for transportation assistance. Please limit bringing others to appointments as much as possible.

Entrance into the building:

All visitors need to enter the building through the designated entrance. Screeners will check your temperature and ask you several health-related questions. Please do not visit a patient if you have any symptoms of illness or have been exposed to someone who is ill.

Please bring a mask with you when you visit our facility. You must wear your mask from the time you enter the building until you leave the building, including while you are in the patient’s room.

While in the Building:

You will be asked to go directly to the patient’s room and to stay in the room the entire time that you visit. Visitors to procedural areas may be asked to wait in a designated waiting area. No sleeping in the patient’s room. Do not bring outside food or beverages on-site, and check with the nursing staff before eating or drinking.

Wash your Hands:

Please wash your hands often. This is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick. It also helps to stop the spread of illnesses. Soap and water are best for killing viruses on your hands. If soap and water is not nearby, please use the hand sanitizer located throughout the facility.

Stand 6 feet away:

It is key to social distance yourself. Limit your contact with others (including your loved one), including the healthcare team while they are caring for your loved one by standing 6 feet away.

These visitor guidelines are reassessed every day and may change. We appreciate your understanding.

Universal Masking

Essentia has implemented universal masking in all of our facilities. Patients, visitors, and staff need to wear a mask at all times inside any of our facilities.

We ask that you please come with your own cloth mask. If you don't have your own, we will provide one.

Learn more important information from the CDC about face coverings.

Designated Entries for COVID-19 screening

To protect patients and staff, we're limiting entry to Essentia Health clinics and hospitals on our downtown Duluth campus.

All patients, visitors, and staff will need to use designated entries, answer COVID-19 screening questions, and have their temperatures taken.

Duluth: Since April 9, patients have been using the following designated entries:

  • Duluth Clinic First Street Building: Main entry on First Street from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday
  • Duluth Clinic Second Street Building, Essentia Health-Duluth Lobby: Second Street lobby of Essentia Health-Duluth (near statues and registration) and from parking ramp that enters lobby from the rear of the building from 5 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday -Friday. After 4:30 p.m., use the Red Ramp entrance.
  • Duluth Clinic Third Street Building: Third-floor and first-floor parking ramp entrance and first-floor main entrance off Third Street near Urgent Care and pharmacy from 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.
  • St. Mary’s Medical Center (Duluth) Skywalk from Red Ramp:
    • Procedural or surgical patient access between 5 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week
    • Visitor access between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., seven days a week
  • St. Mary’s Medical Center (Duluth) Third Street entrance is employee-only entrance. No staff should use the Emergency Department entrance.
  • St. Mary’s Medical Center (Duluth) Fourth Street entrance: 5 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday-Friday; use the Red Ramp entrance unless you are an Emergency Department patient.
  • St. Mary’s Medical Center (Duluth) Emergency Department: This entrance is for Emergency Department and MRI patients and visitors of Emergency Department patients only.

Duluth: Beginning July 10, visitors of patients at Essentia Health-St. Mary's Medical Center and Essentia Health-Duluth use the following designated entrance:
St. Mary’s Medical Center (Duluth) Red Ramp Skywalk entrance: Park in the Red Ramp on East Fourth Street and take the skywalk entrance to visit patients at both Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center and Essentia Health-Duluth.

Duluth, MN: Beginning July 10, visitors of patients at Essentia Health-St. Mary's Medical Center and Essentia Health-Duluth use the following designated entrance:

  • St. Mary’s Medical Center (Duluth) Red Ramp Skywalk entrance: Park in the Red Ramp on East Fourth Street and take the skywalk entrance to visit patients at both Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center and Essentia Health-Duluth.

See the designated entries on a map.

Personal Items & Gift Deliveries

To help protect patients and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are asking families and friends to limit personal items or gifts brought to patients who are in the hospital.

We understand that personal items can bring comfort to patients and help them heal. We know flowers and gifts can brighten a day and remind patients that people are thinking of them and wishing them a speedy recovery. We encourage you to send floral arrangements and gifts to patients when they return home.

The safety of patients and staff is our top priority so we must take steps to prevent the spread of infection. That’s why we are strictly limiting visitors at our hospitals during the pandemic. We also must follow a strict protocol for receiving and delivering any necessary personal items to patients.

If you bring a personal item to a patient, please follow these steps:
  • Call the patient’s nursing station and get permission to bring the item to the patient. You will be instructed where to bring your delivery at the hospital.
  • If you are bringing a cloth item, please launder it in hot water and dry it in a hot dryer before packing it in a clean disposable plastic bag.
  • Any item should be placed in a clean disposable plastic bag and the bag labeled with the patient’s name and room number.
  • Drop off the bag and list of what is in it at a hospital entry and screening station between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily. You must wear a mask to the screening station.
  • Your package will be delivered to the patient by hospital staff.