CLINTON — As COVID-19 cases continue to increase in Clinton County and the Eastern Iowa region, MercyOne is returning to restricting visitors at MercyOne Clinton Medical Center and all MercyOne Clinton facilities, the hospital announced.

This decision is not easy, but necessary for the protection of patients, their families, the communities served and MercyOne’s workforce, hospital officials said in a press release.

Effective Thursday, July 30, no visitors will be allowed in the hospital except under extenuating circumstances.

Some visitor exceptions will be made for extenuating circumstances, including:

• Children admitted to the hospital.

• Maternity units.

• Patients receiving end-of-life care.

For approved exceptions, only one visitor per patient per day will be allowed.

They must be:

• 18 years of age or older.

• Either immediate family members, powers of attorney, guardians or patient representatives.

• Healthy with no symptoms of illness, including respiratory or fever.

All approved visitors will be screened at the entrance and will be required to wear a mask.

For patients receiving care at MercyOne clinics and provider offices, beginning Thursday, July 30, a support person will be allowed to accompany the patient in certain circumstances, such as when the patient needs support with ambulation, is in critical condition, or the support person is the designated driver or caregiver post-procedure.

Support people must be healthy and free of any symptoms of COVID-19 or any other illness, and will be required to wear a mask.

MercyOne encourages the community to continue to follow the best practices from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help prevent the spread of all viruses. They are:

• Stay home if you are sick.

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

• Wear a face covering, such as a cloth mask or face shield.

• Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze.

• Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

• If soap is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

• Disinfect surfaces and objects using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

If you experience symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, call your primary care provider before visiting a medical office. If you think you’ve been exposed but are not having symptoms, isolate at home and follow CDC guidelines. Learn more at www.MercyOne.org/covid19.