Wentworth-Douglass Hospital becomes the second Seacoast hospital to change its visitation policy as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb in New Hampshire.

Effective Tuesday Wentworth-Douglass will allow only one "support person" such as birth partners, parents/caregivers of pediatric patients (two allowed), attorneys of patients and designated support persons for patients with disabilities.

The hospital will continue to allow "essential visitors" subject to the discretion of hospital leadership including visitors to patients receiving end-of-life care.

"The current surge in COVID-19 patients, especially those requiring intubation, has led the hospital to re-purpose additional areas to accommodate patients requiring ventilators. A small number of elective surgeries remain scheduled, as our leadership continues to monitor the situation," the hospital said in a statement.

Exeter Hospital began a no-visitor policy the day after Thanksgiving. Elliot Hospital in Manchester has a restriction on visitors with some exceptions.

Other Seacoast hospitals, including Portsmouth Regional, Frisbe Hospital in Rochester, York Hospital and Anna Jacques in Newburyport had not posted a similar change to their visitation policy on their respective websites as of late Monday morning.

Wentworth-Douglass encouraged the public to

  • Get vaccinated and boosted from COVID-19.
  • Remain vigilant in following best practices for the prevention of COVID (masking, hand washing, social distancing, avoiding crowds).
  • Only come to the ER if you need acute care.
  • Please support and be patient with our staff during these extraordinary times.

The state did not update its COVID-19 dashboard as of late Monday morning.

The state Department of Health & Human Services reported 8,496 current cases as of Friday with the highest number of cases by county in Rockingham with 1,580. Strafford County has 785 mostly in Rochester and Somersworth.

The CDC reported New Hampshire had 539 positive COVID-19 cases in the past seven days per 100,000 people, the most in the nation, just ahead of Minnesota and Michigan.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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