September 7, 2021
St. Lawrence Health Suspends Hospital Visitation And Asks Community Not To Use Emergency Rooms For COVID-19 Tests
Just one day into St. Lawrence Health’s latest restrictions on hospital visitation, the health system has made the decision to suspend visitation to each of its three hospitals starting Wednesday, September 8, 2021.
The broader visitation restrictions will not extend to a very limited number of support persons for qualifying patients, such as delivering OB mother; pediatric patients; patients with confusion, altered mental status, or developmental delays; and end-of-life patients.
In a statement regarding the prompt changes in the visitation policy, St. Lawrence Health’s Senior Vice President of Administration Jeremy Slaga stated, "It is our hope that this expansive suspension on visitation is a temporary one. Cases of COVID-19 in St. Lawrence County have been rapidly increasing, and this past weekend’s hospitalizations due to the virus have risen at a rate not previously seen since January.”
“While our team is much better prepared this time around, the suspension of visitation is an important way to limit the risk of possible exposure to you, your family, our staff, and our community,” Mr. Slaga added.
With its hospitals across the St. Lawrence County stretched thin, St. Lawrence Health is also urging people to only go to an emergency room for a true emergency and not just for COVID-19 testing.
“Our hospitals are once again seeing the same volume of non-COVID-19 emergencies, including strokes, heart attacks and traumas that we were seeing before the pandemic began,” said Canton-Potsdam Hospital’s Emergency Department Chair Julie Vieth, MD. “Now though, we also have to account for patients with COVID-19, which has been challenging. When emergency departments are faced with seeing lower acuity COVID-19 patients just for testing, or to confirm their COVID-19 diagnosis, it means we have to triage even more patients, more carefully, which can lead to overcrowding and longer wait times for all of our patients.
“Anyone who has been exposed, or thinks they may have contracted the virus, should be tested at one of St. Lawrence Health’s testing sites and reserve the Emergency Department for emergency visits only,” Dr. Vieth added. “Same- or next-day appointments are usually available. Test results are typically available by the next day.”
Appointments can be schedule online through SLH at https://www.stlawrencehealthsystem.org/covid-19/schedule-covid-test, or by calling the SLH COVID Hotline (daily) at 315.261.6240.
SLH Testing Locations and Hours:
- 77 West Barney Street in Gouverneur: Monday - Friday, 7:00 am - 3:00 pm
- 1 Hospital Drive in Massena: Monday - Friday, 7:00 am - 3:00 pm
- 145 Market Street in Potsdam: Daily, 7:00 am - 3:00 pm
Testing services are also available at either of St. Lawrence Health’s Urgent Care locations:
- 49 Lawrence Avenue, Potsdam: Daily 8 am – 8 pm
- 80 East Main Street, Canton: Daily, 9 am – 7 pm
Read the latest information on visitation restrictions at St. Lawrence Health.