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COVID-19 Visitor Policy

Last updated January 7, 2021

Routine Visitation Temporarily Suspended

UW Medicine's patient care philosophy depends greatly on engaging families in the healing process. However, due to the recent and rapid increases in COVID-19 cases in our community, we are imposing restrictions on visitors for your safety and the safety of our employees.

UW Medicine has implemented restricted visitation to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Routine visiting is suspended in UW Medicine hospitals until transmission of COVID-19 is no longer a threat to the health of the community.

Exceptions to visitor restriction policy

The decision to restrict visitation is difficult and made only after careful consideration. We also recognize that there are times when having a visitor or family member present is crucial.

Hospital inpatient visitors will be allowed based on the following exceptions:

  • Patients who are under the age of 18 may have 1 visitor, or parent or guardian.
  • Obstetrics patients may have 2 support visitors, such as a family member, birthing coach or doula, with them during labor and delivery. 
    • Both visitors are expected to remain at the patient’s bedside and always wear a mask. 
    • Visitors may eat and drink in the patient’s room but must keep at least 6 feet apart.
    • One visitor must leave after two hours post-delivery (maximum of 1 visitor for the remainder of stay).
  • Patients who need a caregiver for safety because of their mental status, developmental status or for their disability may have 1 caregiver.
  • Patients undergoing surgery or procedures may have 1 visitor. Once the surgery or procedure is over and the physician has discussed the findings with the visitor (as appropriate), the visitor must leave the medical center. Visitor may see the patient briefly before leaving. 
  • Patients may have a home caregiver who needs to be trained as their single visitor.
  • Patients who are visiting the Emergency Department may have 1 person with them.
  • Community-based care providers who are involved in the care of the patient may visit in addition to the patient's 1 visitor for support and care continuity.
  • Patients who are at the end of life may have 2 visitors.

UW Medicine outpatient clinics will allow visitors based on the following exceptions:

  • Patients under the age of 18 may have 1 adult accompany them.
  • Other patients who need a caregiver due to a disability may have 1 adult accompany them.
  • Postpartum patients may bring their newborns.

Additional restrictions for all allowed visitors

Please note that all allowed visitors in the hospitals and clinics will be subject to the following additional restrictions:

  • Visitors must always wear masks.
  • Visitors will be screened at specific entry points and only be allowed if they do not have symptoms of COVID-19: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • Visitors may not consume food or beverages in lobbies or waiting areas.
  • Visitors must stay in the patient’s room except when arriving or departing the hospital. Visitors cannot have tested positive or been in contact with anyone who tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 14 days. 
  • Approved visitors are encouraged to minimize their time in the hospitals and avoid eating and drinking in patient rooms unless necessary for an extended duration visit. If eating and drinking must occur, timing should be coordinated with the care team to maximize safety. Visitors must maintain at least 6 feet of distance from patients when eating or drinking. 
  • In outpatient clinics, patients and visitors must follow masking requirements and may not consume food or beverages during their visit, including in lobby areas.

We appreciate your understanding during these difficult times. Our goal is to protect you, your family and friends, and our staff. We look forward to resuming visitation when COVID-19 is no longer a threat to the health of our community.