Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Despite Omicron Variant, Two Valley Hospitals Loosen Visitor Rules
Liz-Juarez
By Liz Juarez
Published 2 years ago on
December 23, 2021

Share

 

Even with new Omicron variant cases making waves throughout the state, Kaweah Health says it is easing restrictions for people visiting patients.

The decision follows a decrease in COVID-19 cases for Kaweah Health.

“Restricting visitors has been the hardest thing we have ever had to do,” said Gary Herbst, Kaweah Health’s chief executive officer. “We’re excited about this change we’re going to make and we hope it continues to go in this direction.”

On Monday, Kaweah had 34 COVID-19 inpatients, nine of whom were in ICU.

Will other Valley hospitals follow in their footsteps?

As of now, Saint Agnes Medical Center is the only other local hospital to have loosened visitor restrictions.

Who Has Visiting Rights? 

The new visitor guidelines for Kaweah Health were implemented on Tuesday. However, the new guidelines are for patients who don’t have COVID-19.

Non-COVID patients will be able to have one visitor per day during visiting hours, and those visitors will have to follow strict screenings for symptoms of COVID-19. Those are fever, new cough, new shortness of breath, loss of smell or taste.

Visitors are required to wear a surgical mask while in healthcare facilities and in patient-care areas. They also must be fully vaccinated or have tested negative for the virus 72 hours prior to indoor visits. Or, they can show proof of medical release from COVID-19 isolation per state guidelines.

“We are first to recognize and fully support that visitation is a critical part of the care process,” said Herbst. “Visitors help relieve anxiety, they improve communication between the patient and care team, and they are part of the healing process.”

Some Exceptions For COVID-Positive Patients

For COVID-positive patients, visitation guidelines remain unchanged for the most part with a few exceptions.

However, Kaweah’s care team will evaluate and approve exceptions for patients in extenuating circumstances, hospital officials said.

Are Other Valley Hospitals Making Changes?

Fresno’s Saint Agnes Medical Center also changed its visitation policies last week, but they will remain highly restrictive according to their communications director, Kelley Sanchez.

Sanchez said they revised their visitation policies to allow one visitor per week for patients staying at least one week in the hospital. Previously, no visitors were allowed.

Throughout the pandemic, the hospital has had exceptions in special circumstances.

With many of their patients staying in the hospital longer than normal, Sanchez said they decided to revisit those policies given the holiday season, and after their COVID inpatient numbers stabilized.

“We recognize how important it is for patients to feel the support of their loved ones, but we have an obligation to do everything possible to keep our patients, colleagues, and community safe,” said Sanchez.

She said visitor policies have changed several times during the pandemic, and expects they will continue to evolve.

“While we all hope and pray for an end to the pandemic, we recognize that with the new Omicron variant, we will likely see a surge again, but exactly what that looks like in terms of numbers, no one knows,” Sanchez said.

“What we do know is that vaccines protect against hospitalization and death, so we continue to urge the public to get vaccinated if they haven’t already, and to get the booster.”

A spokesman for Kaiser Permanente, Jordan Scott, said the healthcare system has strict visitor policies that are continually evaluated by their infectious disease experts.

“Kaiser Permanente’s hospital visitor policy is tied directly to COVID-19 community transmission rates, as measured by each county public health department,” said Scott.

Local Hospital Visitation Policies

Both Community Medical Centers and Valley Children’s Hospital say their strict no-visitation policies remain in place.

To review Kaweah Health visitor guidelines, click here.

To review St. Agnes Medical Center visitor guidelines, click here.

To review Community Medical Center guidelines, click here.

To review Kaiser Permanente’s guidelines, click here.

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

Surprising Ways and Places You Can Use SNAP EBT Food Benefits

DON'T MISS

Californians Worry About Crime, Setting up a Ballot Measure Showdown

DON'T MISS

The Pickle Flavor Frenzy and Its Rise in Food Trends

DON'T MISS

Kate Hudson Had a Lifetime to Make a Record. The Result is ‘Glorious,’ Out in May

DON'T MISS

Long-Lost First Model of USS Enterprise from ‘Star Trek’ Boldly Goes Home

DON'T MISS

California Leaders Take Sides in Monumental Supreme Court Case on Homelessness

DON'T MISS

Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Hush Money Trial Court

DON'T MISS

McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines Are So Unreliable They’re a Meme. They Might Also Be a Climate Solution.

DON'T MISS

Real Estate Experts Talk Fresno’s Economic Future. Are Tough Times Ahead?

DON'T MISS

Unlocking the Secrets to Fresno State’s Superb Baseball Season

UP NEXT

Californians Worry About Crime, Setting up a Ballot Measure Showdown

UP NEXT

The Pickle Flavor Frenzy and Its Rise in Food Trends

UP NEXT

Kate Hudson Had a Lifetime to Make a Record. The Result is ‘Glorious,’ Out in May

UP NEXT

Long-Lost First Model of USS Enterprise from ‘Star Trek’ Boldly Goes Home

UP NEXT

California Leaders Take Sides in Monumental Supreme Court Case on Homelessness

UP NEXT

Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Hush Money Trial Court

UP NEXT

McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines Are So Unreliable They’re a Meme. They Might Also Be a Climate Solution.

UP NEXT

Real Estate Experts Talk Fresno’s Economic Future. Are Tough Times Ahead?

UP NEXT

Unlocking the Secrets to Fresno State’s Superb Baseball Season

UP NEXT

Does Dyer Support (or Endorse) Bredefeld for Supervisor?

Kate Hudson Had a Lifetime to Make a Record. The Result is ‘Glorious,’ Out in May

2 days ago

Long-Lost First Model of USS Enterprise from ‘Star Trek’ Boldly Goes Home

2 days ago

California Leaders Take Sides in Monumental Supreme Court Case on Homelessness

2 days ago

Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Hush Money Trial Court

3 days ago

McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines Are So Unreliable They’re a Meme. They Might Also Be a Climate Solution.

3 days ago

Real Estate Experts Talk Fresno’s Economic Future. Are Tough Times Ahead?

3 days ago

Unlocking the Secrets to Fresno State’s Superb Baseball Season

3 days ago

‘This Is How to Improve Reading Proficiency. We Just Have To Execute It’: FUSD Board President

3 days ago

Does Dyer Support (or Endorse) Bredefeld for Supervisor?

3 days ago

Get a 3D First Look at Merced’s High-Speed Rail Station Design

3 days ago

Surprising Ways and Places You Can Use SNAP EBT Food Benefits

Did you know that SNAP EBT benefits used to be called food stamps and that recipients can use those benefits to get healthy food in places o...

1 day ago

1 day ago

Surprising Ways and Places You Can Use SNAP EBT Food Benefits

1 day ago

Californians Worry About Crime, Setting up a Ballot Measure Showdown

2 days ago

The Pickle Flavor Frenzy and Its Rise in Food Trends

2 days ago

Kate Hudson Had a Lifetime to Make a Record. The Result is ‘Glorious,’ Out in May

2 days ago

Long-Lost First Model of USS Enterprise from ‘Star Trek’ Boldly Goes Home

2 days ago

California Leaders Take Sides in Monumental Supreme Court Case on Homelessness

3 days ago

Man Sets Himself on Fire Outside Trump Hush Money Trial Court

3 days ago

McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines Are So Unreliable They’re a Meme. They Might Also Be a Climate Solution.

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend