Harborview Medical Center will soon reopen its doors to visitors, with a new requirement that they must show proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test to be allowed inside, the Seattle hospital announced Friday.
The policy, which will go into effect Tuesday, applies to all inpatient visitors over 12 years old and those over 18 who are accompanying adult patients to Harborview, according to a statement from the hospital. Hospital leaders plan on eventually implementing the requirement at all UW Medicine hospitals and clinics.
"We know how important this is for our patients, for their families, their loved ones, but also the health care workers," Dr. John Lynch, Harborview's medical director of infection prevention and control, said in the statement.
Harborview had temporarily suspended visitation, with some exceptions, during the coronavirus pandemic.
Those who are unvaccinated or don't have proof of immunization must have negative coronavirus test results from within three days of visiting the hospital.
Harborview and other UW Medicine facilities will also ask all visitors to wear a "medical-grade mask" or surgical masks that have multiple layers, which will be provided to visitors for free, Lynch said in a video statement.
"You don't have to take off your old mask — you can put this one on top of it," he said. "But what we've learned is that these multi-layer masks are much better at protecting everyone around us."
All coronavirus tests will be accepted except antibody blood tests, which indicate a previous COVID-19 infection or vaccination, rather than current virus status, the hospital said.
"We're really looking forward to rolling out this policy," Lynch said.