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Effective Dec. 21, Kaweah Health will modify its COVID-19 visitor guidelines

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Effective Dec. 21, Kaweah Health will modify its COVID-19 visitor guidelines

VISALIA, CA – In step with lower transmission rates countywide and fewer COVID-19 patients in the hospital, starting Tuesday, Dec. 21, Kaweah Health will loosen restrictions on the number of visitors that patients can have during the course of their hospital stay.

“We are first to recognize and fully support that visitation is a critical part of the care process. Visitors help relieve anxiety, they improve communication between the patient and care team, and they are part of the healing process,” said Gary Herbst, Kaweah Health’s Chief Executive Officer. “Restricting visitors has been the hardest thing we have ever had to do. We’re excited about this change we’re going to make and we hope it continues to go in this direction.”

New guidelines will allow patients, who do not have COVID-19, one unique visitor each day during visiting hours. Routine visitation guidelines remain unchanged for COVID-19 patients in isolation (video visitation only unless an exception* approved by the care team).

All permitted visitors will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, new cough, new shortness of breath, loss of smell or taste) and required to wear a surgical mask while in healthcare facilities and in patient care areas per state guidelines. They must be fully vaccinated or have tested negative for COVID-19 in the prior 72 hours before indoor visits or show proof of medical release from COVID-19 isolation, per state guidelines.

However, Kaweah Health will broaden exceptions to its visitor guidelines for all patients, including patients in isolation for COVID-19. The care team will evaluate and approve exceptions for patients in extenuating circumstances. *The exceptions are:

  • Two unique visitors per patient stay may be allowed a bedside visit:
    • When a patient changes level of care (higher or lower).
    • When a patient’s condition deteriorates or there is a plan of care change.
    • When a patient is preparing for major surgery or immediately following major surgery when a patient is at high risk of death.
    • For patients who need supervision due to mental status where care may be inhibited without a familiar person present.
  • Four unique visitors per patient stay, two at the bedside at a time, may be allowed a visit:
    • During end-of-life situations

There is no change for the following areas:

  • Pediatrics: Patients are permitted two guardians regardless of COVID-19 status
  • Emergency Department: Adult patients are permitted one visitor once they have been taken to a patient room and no visitors are permitted in the waiting area
  • Maternal Child Health

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, 9 of whom were in ICU. Kaweah Health shares COVID-19 information and regular updates with the community on its website at and on its social media accounts. #