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Patient visitation suspended at all UW Medicine hospitals over coronavirus concerns

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SEATTLE - UW Medicine hospitals are suspending routine patient visits starting Wednesday (March 11) in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The new policy -- in place at UW Medical Center (Montlake and Northwest campuses in Seattle), Harborview Medical Center in Seattle and Valley Medical Center in Renton -- is in effect until further notice.

"This is a difficult decision. It’s not an easy decision to make, but it is critically important that we keep our patients safe during this outbreak," said Lisa Brandenburg, president of UW Medicine hospitals and clinics.

There are exceptions to the no visitors policy, the health system said, but all visitors will be screened and no one will be allowed in if they have symptoms of a respiratory infection (fever, runny nose, cough, shortness of breath). Children under 16 will not be allowed except in "extraordinary circumstances."

Exceptions include:

  • Obstetric patients may have one partner and one birth support person accompany them.
  • Nursery and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) patients may have one birth parent plus one significant other who must remain in the room for the duration of the visit.
  • Patients who are at the end-of-life may have two visitors.
  • Patients with disruptive behavior, in which a family member is key to their care, may have one visitor.
  • Patients who have altered mental status or developmental delays (where caregiver provides safety) may have one visitor.
  • Minors under age 18 may have one visitor, parent, or guardian.
  • Patients undergoing surgery or procedures may have 1 visitor who must leave the hospital as soon as possible after the procedure/surgery.
  • Patients who have an appointment at a UW Medicine hospital-based clinic, laboratory, or radiology, as well as those visiting the Emergency Department, may have one person with them.
  • Patients who are receiving lodging services as part of their medical treatment plan are excluded from the visitor restriction policy.

No visitors will be allowed for patients who have a pending or positive COVID-19 test. Visitors allowed must stay in the patients' room the entire time of the visit. Once the visitor leaves the patient room, they must leave the medical center.

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