Saturday, December 4, 2021

Harborview Medical Center to require visitors to show proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test

A Seattle hospital announced Friday that Harborview Medical Center will soon reopen its doors to visitors, with a new requirement that they must show proof of vaccination or allow a negative coronavirus test.

The policy, which will take effect Tuesday, applies to all inpatient visitors over the age of 12 and those over 18 who are in Harborview with adult patients, according to a statement from the hospital. Hospital leaders eventually plan to implement the requirement in all UW Medicine hospitals and clinics.

“We know how important this is to our patients, their families, their loved ones, but also health care workers,” Dr. John Lynch, Harborview’s medical director of infection prevention and control, said in the statement.

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Harborview temporarily suspended travel, with few exceptions, during the coronavirus pandemic.

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People who have not been vaccinated or who do not have proof of vaccination must have a negative coronavirus test result within three days of arrival at the hospital.

Harborview and other UW Medicine facilities will also ask all visitors to wear a “medical-grade mask,” or surgical mask that has multiple layers, which will be provided to visitors free of charge, Lynch said in a video statement.

“You don’t have to take off your old mask—you can put it on top of it,” he said. “But what we have learned is that these multi-layer masks are better at protecting everyone around us.”

The hospital said all coronavirus tests will be accepted except antibody blood tests, which indicate past COVID-19 infection or vaccination, rather than the current virus status.

“We’re really looking forward to implementing this policy,” Lynch said.

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