At UW Medicine, patients are always first. We want you to know about the many safety measures we have put in place for our patients and their families to prevent exposure to COVID-19 in our hospitals and clinics.
Given the continued reduction in COVID-19 cases in our community, UW Medicine has begun to gradually increase in-person primary and specialty care visits. We know that delaying in-person clinic visits has been a challenge for patients, and we appreciate your understanding as we focused our resources on our response to COVID-19.
As we begin to reschedule these visits, we want to assure you that UW Medicine is committed to creating the safest possible environment for your care. Since COVID-19 was discovered in our community, we have greatly expanded our telehealth capabilities to allow patients to receive continued care from their homes. In the future, we will continue to recommend telehealth appointments for patients when appropriate. For more information on UW Medicine’s telehealth appointments, please visit our Telehealth Services page.
For those patients whose care is best served by an in-person visit, we want to share with you the many new safety measures we have put in place in our clinics and hospitals for your protection. These new safety measures include:
Masking of UW Medicine staff, patients and visitors
All staff, patients and visitors in our clinical facilities must wear a mask to protect against COVID-19 transmission. For patients and visitors, these can be cloth face covers or personal masks. We will provide masks to patients and visitors who arrive without their own masks.
Physical distancing of patients
We are reconfiguring our clinical areas and waiting rooms wherever possible to optimize and maintain physical distancing precautions.
Mandatory screening of UW Medicine staff
All UW Medicine employees are required to sign a form every day at the start of their shift to indicate that they do not have a fever or symptoms of any respiratory illness. Those employees who have symptoms of a respiratory illness are required to stay home until they have recovered completely. All employees also have quick access to COVID-19 testing when they have symptoms of the disease.
Proactive testing prior to surgery
All UW Medicine patients are tested for COVID-19 prior to having a surgical procedure. If a patient tests positive for COVID-19 and if surgery can be safely delayed, it will be postponed until the patient has fully recovered.
Proactive testing of hospitalized patients
All patients admitted to UW Medicine hospitals are tested for COVID-19, regardless of whether or not they have symptoms associated with a respiratory illness. The testing enables us to assign highly specialized teams to care for COVID-19 patients in dedicated areas of our hospitals. In addition, UW Medicine utilizes robust infection prevention standards to keep all hospitalized patients safe.
Proactive testing of Labor and Delivery patients
All UW Medicine hospitals test each patient admitted to Labor and Delivery for COVID-19. If the mother tests positive, our care teams take special precautions to keep mother and baby as safe as possible.
With certain exceptions, we have restricted visitation within our UW Medicine hospitals. All routine visiting has been suspended until the transmission of COVID-19 is no longer a threat to our patients, staff and community. Visitors with COVID-19 symptoms are instructed not to enter our facilities.
Creating a safe environment for our patients begins with hand hygiene. Our caregivers will wash their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before they care for you.