COVID-19: Visitor Policy

Updated October 16, 2020

Our patient care philosophy recognizes the many benefits of engaging families and friends in the healing process. However, since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been taking extra measures to protect our patients, visitors and staff, including restrictions on routine visiting at our UW Medicine hospitals: Harborview Medical Center, UW Medical Center – Montlake, UW Medical Center – Northwest and Valley Medical Center.

Routine visiting is limited in UW Medicine hospitals until the transmission of COVID-19 is no longer a threat to our patients, staff and community.

Effective October 19, visiting hours at Harborview Medical Center are from 2 pm –  6 pm only.

Visitors will be screened at specified entry points for symptoms of respiratory illness. These symptoms include cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, headache, runny nose and gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Any visitor with these symptoms will not be allowed to enter a UW Medicine hospital. Visitors should stay in the patient’s room except when arriving or departing the facility. Only asymptomatic visitors will be allowed into hospital facilities based on the parameters outlined below:

  • No visitors under the age of 16 except newborns under 3 months of age attending their mother’s postpartum visit.
  • Each patient may have one visitor who must wear a mask while in any hospital facility. Visitation will be limited by facility visiting hours and policies.
  • Patients who are under the age of 18 may have one visitor, or parents or guardians.
  • In our childbirth units, patients will be allowed two healthy support persons with them during labor; two hours after delivery only one support person will be able to remain at the bedside, and the second person will be required to leave the hospital.
  • Patients who are at the end of life may have two visitors:
    • End of life refers to a patient who is highly likely to die in the coming days and is not restricted to patients who are receiving palliative care.
    • Visitors must stay in the room for the duration of each visit.
    • Each unit manager has the discretion to limit the duration of the visit based on clinical considerations.
    • Visits from a minor are permissible if accompanied by a parent or guardian and approved by the care team.

  • Patients who need a caregiver for safety because of their mental or developmental status or for their disability, such as hearing loss or vision impairment, may have one visitor in addition to their caregiver. 
  • Patients who require a home caregiver to be trained may have one visitor in addition to the caregiver.
  • Community-based care providers, who are involved in the care of the patient, may visit for support and care continuity in addition to the patient’s one visitor. 
  • Members of the spiritual community may visit patients in addition to one visitor.
  • Visitors may not remove any supplies or equipment from the medical center.  
  • UW Medicine employees who have family members in the hospital are subject to the same restrictions on visitation.
  • No visitors will be allowed in rooms of patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who are being tested for COVID-19, except in the following circumstances:
    • Any COVID-19 positive patient at end of life.
    • Laboring patients who are COVID-19 positive at UW Medical Center campuses may have 1 asymptomatic support person to remain when the following conditions are met:
      1. The support person must remain masked in the mother’s room with PPE on at all times.
      2. The support person will not have the ability to come and go; this person will remain in the mother’s room for the entirety of the mother’s hospital stay.
      3. The support person will be screened by professional nurse personnel for wellness prior to approval to remain with patient.
      4. If a patient declines COVID-19 testing, visitor restrictions will be the same as those patients who are COVID-19 positive.

    • Exclusions for support persons of COVID-19 positive mothers:
      1. COVID-19 positive pregnant antepartum patient may not have a support person.
      2. COVID-19 positive pregnant patients may not have a support person in the operating room for a cesarean delivery.

  • No other visitors will be allowed in the medical center at this time.