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Effective Jan. 31, Kaweah Health will modify its COVID-19 visitor guidelines

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Effective Jan. 31, Kaweah Health will modify its COVID-19 visitor guidelines

VISALIA, CA – Keeping in mind the importance and impact that visitors have on patients - while maintaining the safety for patients, visitors, and staff - Kaweah Health will modify visitor guidelines starting Monday, January 31.

Kaweah Health will implement a change throughout its Medical Center to allow all patients routine visitation. For the first time during the pandemic, Kaweah Health will allow Critical Care (ICU) and Intermediate Critical Care (ICCU) COVID-19 positive patients to have a routine day-to-day visitor. This will be one unique visitor for up to two, one-hour, times each day: 10-11am and 8-9pm. In an abundance of caution, visitors for these patients must be vaccinated (booster shots are not required at this time.) Visitation will not be changed at Kaweah Health’s mental health hospital or its skilled nursing/subacute facilities due to continued restricted state guidelines.

“We recognize how hard it’s been for COVID positive patients to not have visitors. The isolation they feel is terrible. A video or phone call is nice, but these patients crave the presence of their loved ones. In the name of compassion, we will now permit them to have one unique visitor for one hour- while still taking all the necessary precautions to keep everyone safe,” said Gary Herbst, Kaweah Health’s Chief Executive Officer.

These visitors must wear the appropriate personal protective equipment while in the patient room: a surgical mask, a face shield or goggles, gloves, and a gown- all which will be provided to them. Visitors for non-COVID patients continue to be permitted one unique visitor per day during visiting hours. All permitted visitors will be screened for symptoms of illness (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. Visitors for non-COVID patients must be fully vaccinated or have tested negative for COVID-19 in the prior 72 hours before indoor visits. Visitors who have recovered from COVID-19 within the last 90 days, no longer need proof of medical release. We require the visitor show their copy of the positive COVID-19 lab test and be ten days past the result date.

Exceptions will be made for patients in extenuating circumstances. These *exceptions are evaluated by the care team and then approved depending on the situation.

*Visitor exceptions guidelines are:

  • Two unique visitors will 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, two at the bedside at a time, will be allowed a visit:
    • During end-of-life situations

There is no change for the following areas:

  • Pediatrics: Patients with COVID-19 are allowed to have two guardians
  • Emergency Department: Adult patients are allowed 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 Friday, Kaweah Health had 115 COVID-19 inpatients, 13 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. #