ST. CLOUD -- With the latest surge of COVID-19 cases, CentraCare will be implementing more requirements at all of its facilities.

Starting Monday, CentraCare will require all patients and visitors ages two and older to wear a medical-grade face mask at all CentraCare and Carris Health facilities.

CentraCare officials say studies have shown that some cloth masks may not provide enough protection against the virus, specifically against the now-surging Omicron variant.

Patients and visitors with non-medical grade masks, including cloth masks, gaiters, or bandanas, will have medical-grade masks available to them upon entering.

Starting Tuesday, stricter visitor restrictions will go into effect. The new policy states the only visitors allowed to enter CentraCare and Carris Health hospitals are those visiting patients under specific circumstances including:

- End of life
- Critically ill
- Parent/legal guardian of a minor patient
- Support person/legal guardian of an adult with cognitive, physical, or developmental disabilities.
- Labor Support
- High-risk procedures requiring in-person discussions about care and informed consent

Visitations in these situations will be limited to one healthy visitor (which must be the same person) for the entire hospital stay.

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At CentraCare or Carris Health clinics, the only visitor exceptions are:

- one healthy adult patient with cognitive, physical, or developmental disabilities
- two healthy adult visitors for minor patients.

All other visitors are not allowed at any facility at this time. These restrictions do not apply to long-term care facilities which follow separate guidance.

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