Beginning Wednesday, anyone who wants to visit a hospital, skilled nursing facility or intermediate care facility in California will be required to show proof of full vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test.
The requirement was mandated by a state Public Health Officer Order issued Aug. 5, becoming effective Wednesday. It was a companion order to a separate mandate requiring all workers at health care facilities to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 30.
The visitation order requires the affected health-care facilities to verify visitors are fully vaccinated or have received a negative COVID test, with the test specimen collected within 72 hours of the visit. All visitors to health facilities must wear a face mask, with a surgical mask or "double-masking" recommended.
Health facilities also must maintain records of vaccine/testing verifications of visitors.
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The order provides an exemption for people visiting a patient in critical condition, "when death may be imminent." The rules also do not apply to people conducting a solely outdoor visit that does not require entering the building.
"As we respond to the dramatic increase in cases, transmission prevention measures must be increased for the protection of the patients in the facilities referenced in this order," according to the mandate from state Public Health Officer Dr. Tomas Aragon. "This can be done by reducing the risk that visitors to these facilities are bringing COVID-19 from the community and introducing it into these settings."