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In early March as the number of cases of COVID-19 began to increase, we made the difficult decision to restrict routine visitation in the UW Medicine hospitals. While this decision was necessary to limit the spread of the disease among our patients, staff and visitors, it was also contrary to our care philosophy of engaging families in the healing process.

With the continued decline in our COVID-19 inpatient census, we are updating our visitor policy. Beginning Tuesday, May 19, we will allow one visitor in the hospital for most patients, subject to the restrictions and exceptions described below.

Visitors will be screened at specified entry points for symptoms of respiratory illness. These symptoms include headache, fever, sore throat, shortness of breath, cough, muscle pain, loss of sense of smell and/or taste, and chills. Any visitor with these symptoms will not be allowed to enter a UW Medicine hospital. Only asymptomatic visitors will be allowed into hospital facilities. Visitation also is limited by each hospital’s visiting hours and policies.

  • Each visitor must wear a mask while in any hospital facility in accordance with our extended masking policy.
  • Visitors should stay in the patient’s room except when arriving at or departing from the hospital.
  • No visitors under the age of 16 will be allowed.
  • 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. See also: Perinatal and NICU Visitor Restriction Policy.
  • 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.
    • 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 have altered mental status or developmental delays (where a caregiver is needed to provide safety) 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.
  • Visitors may not remove supplies or equipment from the hospital.
  • 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 for end-of-life patients (see above).
  • No other visitors will be allowed in any hospital facility at this time.

With this updated policy, we are pleased that most patients will once again have visitors who can help boost their spirits and speed their recovery. We also look forward to the day when all routine visiting can resume, which will mean that COVID-19 is no longer a threat to the safety of our patients, visitors and staff.


Lisa Brandenburg
UW Medicine Hospitals & Clinics

Timothy H. Dellit, MD
Chief Medical Officer, UW Medicine
President, UW Physicians

Paul Hayes, RN
Chief Executive Officer
Harborview Medical Center

Cindy Hecker 
Chief Executive Officer
UW Medical Center