San Juan Regional Medical Center brings back visitor restrictions due to COVID-19

Matt Hollinshead,

FARMINGTON — San Juan Regional Medical Center is doubling down on efforts to help curb the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases by re-enacting visitor restrictions.

Visitors will be permitted on a case-by-case basis.

SJRMC public relations coordinator Laura Werbner said the same visitor exceptions dating back to March — including end-of-life patients, expectant mothers, minor patients and patients lacking decision-making capacity — will remain, adding that one family member or one caregiver will be allowed to be accompany patients.

“We of course hope that the numbers go down instead of go up,” Werbner said. “We hate to see this happen again.”

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More than 400 San Juan County residents have contracted COVID-19 in November alone, according data on the New Mexico Department of Health’s website.

Werber said the recent rise in cases is “definitely concerning” and that the hospital is trying to prevent the number of available hospital beds from exceeding capacity.

Werbner said SJRMC’s capacity limits are 43 beds in its regular COVID-19 unit and 14 COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit beds.

Werbner said SJRMC currently has 37 COVID-19 patients hospitalized.

In the event SJRMC exceeds maximum capacity, Werbner said a contingency plan would be implemented.

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To help ease the burden, Werbner said that people must get creative on how to celebrate upcoming holidays remotely and safely.

“We are trying to do everything we can to be patient and keep our caregivers safe, keep our community safe… We encourage everyone to be the example (to get cases down),” Werbner said. “It’s not going away. It’s here, and it’s back with a vengeance… We need to protect each other.”

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 and on Twitter at @MattH_717.