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ONTARIO – Visits to Saint Alphonsus Medical Center Ontario are being limited as a safeguard against the novel coronavirus expected to spread rapidly across Oregon.

Hospital officials announced new restrictions Thursday evening for its hospitals in Ontario, Baker City, Nampa and Boise.

“Only visits from immediate family members, patient advocates and clergy” will be allowed to visit patients and only if they meet certain criteria.

Saint Alphonsus is advising that those who arriving at a hospital to visit who have a cough, wheeze or other respiratory symptom or a fever will be given a mask and advised to go home or seek medical attention.

Those who are arriving at the hospital for medical treatment with those symptoms will be provided a mask before they can enter.

Patients will be allowed only one visitor at a time and no visitors under age 14 will be allowed in.

Gov. Kate Brown has declared a state of emergency in Oregon and announced restrictions in recent days to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. The state on Thursday reported three new cases of people presumed to be infected with the disease, bringing the state’s total to 24.