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Can I visit someone in a hospital? What guidelines are in place to protect patients?

Last Updated: 10/28/2020

Hospitals have opened their doors to visitors with new safety guidelines in place.

Individual hospitals will set visiting hours and visitation duration.

Before you visit your loved one, please check ahead to find out what specific policies the hospital has established so your visit can go as smoothly as possible.

Safety protocols for hospital visitation, as required by the Department of Health under Executive Directive No. 20-018, include:

  • Visitors must be 18 or older, except for rare exceptions as determined by the facility.
  • Visits are limited to one person at a time, except for both parents/guardians visiting a minor or if the facility determines that a limited number of additional people is appropriate.
  • All visitors will be provided with and must wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) as recommended by the CDC.
  • All visitors must undergo symptom and temperature checks upon entering the facility. Anyone with symptoms will not be permitted to visit.
  • All visitors must perform hand hygiene before visiting with a patient.
  • In the hospitals, visitors should remain in the patient's room or Emergency Department bay as much as possible, except when directed by hospital staff to leave during certain procedures.
  • Same-day surgery or procedure patients may have one support person with the exception of labor and delivery, children and patients with an intellectual, developmental, or other cognitive disability. The support person may remain with the patient through the initial intake process and may rejoin the patient for the discharge process.
  • Outpatients may be accompanied by one adult. Visitors who accompany outpatients should wait for the patient in the hospital designated waiting area if there is enough space to allow for social distancing.
  • Visitors may use the cafeteria and other amenities available to patients or visitors.
  • All visitors must comply with all reasonable requirements imposed by the hospital to minimize the potential spread of infection.

For a full list of visitor safety policies, refer to page 10 of Executive Directive No. 20-018.

Note: Beginning November 5, employers must adhere to new employee protection guidelines, summarized here. Detailed requirements, as well as exemptions for certain employers, can be found in Executive Order No. 192.

Source: Executive Directive No. 20-018.