There's some good news today for folks in Eastern Maine who have loved ones currently in the hospital. Starting Monday, July 5th, Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center will allow most patients to have two adult visitors, between the hours of 9AM and 8PM. This is provided the visitors have passed the health screening, remain masked at all times (regardless of their vaccination status) and only if there's space in the patient's room to allow for social distancing.

Northern Light says the expansion of hours comes as the number of Covid-19 cases throughout the state continues to fall, and the number of vaccinated individuals continues to rise.

The hospital says visitors are still required to check in when they enter the facility, have their temperature taken and answer the standard Covid questions (most of us are used to answering pretty much everywhere we go now.) And there are still restrictions on eating while visiting--because the masks may not be removed during the visit.

But these expanded hours make it possible for loved ones to have greater access to their friends and family members who are being treated at the facility.

Aside from the adult inpatients now being allowed to visit for an extended time, these are the current visitation protocols in place at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center:

"Emergency Department and Surgery/Procedure: Patient is permitted one escort for the duration of their stay. The escort is permitted to leave the Medical Center one time each day and return.

Labor and Delivery: Two visitors permitted 24/7 during the labor process. Once the baby delivers, one support person may stay 24/7 and a second person may visit 9 am to 8 pm daily.

Pediatric/NICU; end-of-life; patients who require additional support for communication, or behavioral health: Two visitors permitted at a time 24/7.

Trauma: While in the Emergency Department, two visitors permitted at a time 24/7."

The expanded hours and protocols going into place July 5th are only for Medical Center (hospital) at Northern Light, and not all of it's other facilities.

The hospital says it understands that, in some instances, it might be necessary or important for more than the allotted 2 visitors to be present beyond the hours of 9AM to 8PM. Those situations will be handled on a case by case basis, by hospital leadership.

It's still recommended that those who are receiving outpatient care at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center, come to their appointments alone--unless they are kids or folks who require a support person.

For more information on this change, click here.

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While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.

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