Kaweah Health allows patients two visitors amid declining COVID-19 positivity rates

A Press Release from Kaweah Health

Keeping patients’ best interests in mind amid decreasing COVID-19 positivity rates, Kaweah Health is changing its visitor guidelines starting today (Monday, March 7) to allow two visitors a day for general visitation.

“We’ve been slowly opening back up and allowing more visitors because we all know that it has been one of the hardest things for patients and their loved ones not to be with each other,” said Keri Noeske, Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer. “With this we are able to make another adjustment to our visitor restrictions in a move toward more normalcy.”

Starting today, two visitors per day will be allowed for:

-Routine, non-COVID patients

-COVID-19 patients in the Intensive Care Unit or the Intermediate Critical Care Unit from 10-11 a.m. and 8-9 p.m., as long as visitors are vaccinated

-Emergency Department patients once they are placed in a room (pediatric/adolescent patients may have one caregiver with them in the lobby)

-Surgery/Cath Lab patients during pre-operative registration and post-operative recovery. Endoscopy patients will be allowed one visitor only during post-operative recovery.

Additionally, all end-of-life patients can now have up to four visitors per day with two visitors permitted at the bedside at a time.

Per State mandate, the same restrictions will remain in place for visitors. They must be able to demonstrate that they have:

  • Been vaccinated
  • Tested negative for COVID
  • Tested positive for COVID in the past 90 days and outside isolation window (copy of lab results required and must be at least 11 days post positive results)

However, on Wednesday, March 16, a new State mandate will require visitor requirements to change. On that day, Kaweah Health will implement the State requirement that visitors of patients with emergencies, including those in Critical Care Areas, Pediatrics (Peds), Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) and Labor & Delivery and Mother/Baby show proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID test 72 hours after patient admission or the emergency situation. Acceptable proof of a negative test will include:

  • COVID-19 PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test results from a medical facility taken within the last 48 hours. A new test will be required every 48 hours.
  • COVID-19 Antigen test results from a medical facility taken within the last 24 hours. A new test will be required every 24 hours.
  • COVID-19 self-tests, sometimes referred to as “home tests,” taken at a Kaweah Health facility under the supervision of a Kaweah Health employee. Please note Kaweah Health does not provide home test kits. Self-tests taken at home are not acceptable. Bring your self-test home kit with you and our screening staff can visualize you completing the test to validate the result.  A new test will be required every 24 hours.

All permitted visitors will be screened for symptoms of illness (fever, new cough, new shortness of breath, loss of smell or taste) and required to wear the appropriate and required personal protective equipment while in healthcare facilities and in patient care areas, per state guidelines.

Exceptions for COVID-19 patients will be made for patients in extenuating circumstances. These *exceptions are evaluated by the care team and then approved depending on the situation.

*Visitor exceptions guidelines are:

  • Two unique visitors will be allowed a bedside visit:

o   When a patient changes level of care (higher or lower).

o   When a patient’s condition deteriorates or there is a plan of care change.

o   When a patient is preparing for major surgery or immediately following major surgery when a patient is at high risk of death.

o   For patients who need supervision due to mental status, where care may be inhibited without a familiar person present.

Visiting hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. throughout the Medical Center, while critical care visiting hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

On Monday, Kaweah Health had 34 COVID-19 inpatients, 2 of whom were in ICU. Kaweah Health shares COVID-19 information and regular updates with the community on its website at www.kaweahhealth.org/COVID19 and on its social media accounts.

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