On April 3, 2023, the Washington State Department of Health removed a Secretary of Health Mask Order requiring universal masking in health care, long-term care, and adult correctional facilities for people age 5 and older.
Beginning June 19, 2023, in accordance with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s updated guidelines, respiratory data from the county and state and hospital COVID-19 admissions data, masking for patients and visitors will now be optional. Some exceptions apply for patients who are high risk.
Safety and high-quality care for our patients are our highest priorities. Our organization strongly encourages masking and hand hygiene for all persons entering our facilities. COVID-19 vaccination is also STRONGLY RECOMMENDED for all visitors entering this facility.
Our current Puget Sound visitor policy for acute care and outpatient clinic locations is as follows:
- Visitors are permitted, provided they pass entry control self-screening (negative symptoms, no recent exposure)
- Individuals with disabilities may continue to request reasonable accommodation and modifications of policies, procedures and practices under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act.
In addition, for acute care and outpatient clinics:
For acute care:
Patient supporters for persons diagnosed with or under investigation for COVID-19 are not allowed unless approved on a limited case-by-case basis. (Refer to COVID-19-specific guidelines below).
Visitor hours are 5 a.m. - 9 p.m. for hospital locations.
For outpatient clinics:
- Patient supporters for persons diagnosed with or under investigation for COVID-19 are allowed to accompany patients to the physician visit. Masks are recommended for patient supporters that may have been exposed to COVID-19.
- For outpatient clinics, siblings of pediatric patients remain restricted, unless they have an appointment. If parents have limited resources or options for child care, they may work with the provider or clinic to determine if an exception may be granted.
Information for patient supporters:
- A patient supporter is someone who accompanies a patient to aid in their recovery and healing. This may be a friend or relative. Patient supporters should be aware that any close contact could spread COVID-19 to your loved one, even before you feel sick. Please do not hug, kiss, or share food or drink with your loved one as this could be very dangerous and even deadly to the person you are here to support.
- Patient supporters are not permitted for hospitalized patients diagnosed with COVID-19. Visitation for patient supporters will only be approved on a case-by-case basis by the direct care nurse, nurse manager or senior campus administrator.
Guidelines for patient supporters:
- Additionally, clinics may have visitor policies that supplement these COVID guidelines and departments may have rules that are more restrictive. Please check with your care team for specific guidelines related to visitation.
- COVID-19 vaccination is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED for all patient supporters entering our health care facilities. Note that COVID-19 vaccination status does not change exception criteria.
- All Swedish ICU/IMCU will only accept patient supporters by appointment.
- Pass entry control self-screening for COVID-19, be free of any fever or COVID-19 symptoms within the last 24 hours and have no known exposures to COVID-19 in the past 10 days.
- Wearing personal masks is encouraged, however, N95 masks with a valve, scarves, bandanas, and neck gaiters are not permitted.
- Practice hand hygiene with provided hand sanitizer. Anyone wearing medical gloves at entries must remove the gloves, keep them off while inside the facility, and practice hand hygiene.
- Although discouraged, food and drink are permitted to be brought inside hospital patient rooms but should be limited during high/substantial respiratory viral transmission periods. Patient supporters may eat in hospital patient rooms if they are staying for longer periods of time. If patient supporters are eating in the room, they must stop and mask whenever a caregiver enters the room and should be physically distanced from the patient. Patient supporters may order food from nutrition services to be sent to patient rooms.
- Use designated public restrooms. Do not use patient restrooms.
- Only visit during hospital facility visiting hours.
- Overnight stays are restricted and only permitted if coordinated with direct care nurse or nurse manager. Shared patient rooms are excluded.
- Designated supporters of patients undergoing aerosol-generating procedures may be asked to leave or wear additional personal protective equipment during the procedure.
Entry point screening requirements:
- Everyone is required to follow good hand hygiene practices.
- All who enter the facility must follow the screening process, which is subject to change. All are required to attest that they are free of COVID-19 symptoms in the last 24 hours and have no known recent exposure to COVID-19 in the last 10 days and have not tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 10 days.
- Exception: patients with an outpatient appointment for diagnosis or treatment related to COVID-19. (Symptoms are subject to change.)
COVID-19 symptoms (subject to change) include:
- Fever over 100° degrees F
- New cough
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches (myalgias)
- Fatigue/feeling ill/malaise
- New loss of smell or taste
- New or unusual congestion/runny nose
- New or unusual headache
The health and safety of our patients and caregivers is our top priority. These restrictions are subject to change based on respiratory viral transmission in the community, or until guidance from public health authorities changes.