Always Here, Always Safe

PALOMAR HEALTH INPATIENT VISITOR GUIDELINES

Effective August 12, 2021, superseding all previous visitation guidelines.

California is currently experiencing the fastest increase in COVID19 cases since the start of the pandemic. The Delta variant, which is highly contagious and possibly more infectious, is currently the most common variant causing new infections in California.

In accordance with the State Public Health Order just released, Palomar Health will be requiring all visitors to show proof of vaccination or a negative test taken within the last 72 hours before entering Palomar Medical Center Poway, Palomar Medical Center Escondido and The Villas at Poway starting Thursday, August 12. The list of acceptable documents required can be found in the California Department of Public Health Order.

If visitors are not able to show the required documentation, they will not be allowed inside the building and will be asked to wait outside. This includes visitors accompanying loved ones to the hospital for an elective surgery or emergency room visit. If needed, a staff member will be called to assist patients whose loved ones are not allowed inside. Exceptions to the vaccination requirements will be considered for visitors of patients at end-of-life, with signs of imminent birth or those needing additional care. This must be approved in advance by the patient's care team.

**These guidelines are based on current health conditions in our community and are subject to change as conditions change.

Additionally, the following visitor limitations are in place:


  • All visitors must show proof of being fully vaccinated or a negative COVID19 test result within 72 hours of arrival to enter the building. Exceptions from proof of vaccine or testing include visitors of patients at end-of-life, a support person for labor/delivery, parent or guardian visitors of NICU and pediatric patients, or patients with physical, intellectual, and/or developmental disabilities and cognitive impairments. This must be approved by the patient's care team.
  • Visiting hours are restricted to 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. for inpatient units.
  • Visiting hours for the Emergency Department are 24 hours a day.
  • 1-2 visitors age 16 and over are allowed to visit/accompany a patient in the hospital. This includes bedside of a non-COVID patient in the ICU, Birth Center, etc.
  • Only 1 visitor age 16 and over is allowed to accompany a patient in the emergency department.
  • If visitors are already present, others must wait outside the hospital. Visitors should not gather or wait in the lobbies.
 
  • All visitors allowed in the building will be screened, given a wristband and required to wear a well-fitting face mask (surgical mask is recommended) upon entry and at all times within the building. Gaiters, bandanas and masks with small plastic valves on the front are not permitted.
  • Anyone with symptoms of COVID19 will not be allowed to visit.
  • Visitors should remain in the patient room as much as possible and not wander around in the hallways.
  • Eating/drinking is not allowed in the lobbies or patient rooms. Food and drink must be consumed in the cafteria or outside of the hospital.
  • Additional PPE the healthcare team deems appropriate while in the patient room may also be required.
  • Social distancing must be practiced at all times. If proper social distancing cannot be done in the patient’s room, the visitor(s) may be asked to leave the room while the care team is present.
  • If any visitors are not willing to comply with all infection control guidelines they can be asked to leave.

  • No visitors are allowed to visit COVID19+ patients in the hospital at this time.
  • Exceptions may be considered for patients at end-of-life, or patients with physical, intellectual, and/or developmental disabilities and cognitive impairments. This must be approved in advance by the patient’s care team.

  • 1-2 visitors can accompany the patient in/out of the hospital.
  • One visitor can wait in the 2nd floor waiting area during surgery and will be notified when the surgery is complete. 

  • Two visitors over the age of 16 are allowed. Certified doulas are allowed as one of the two visitors.
  • For surrogate births, two visitors are allowed who can be a support person and intended parent.
  • COVID19+ patients in labor are allowed one support person, who must remain in the room at all times. Doulas and intended parents are not permitted with COVID19+ patients.
  • One birthing partner with a laboring mother will also be exempt from proof of vaccination or testing.
  • Parent or guardian visiting a NICU patient are exempt from proof of vaccination or testing.


  • All visitors must show proof of being fully vaccinated or a negative COVID19 test result within 72 hours of arrival to enter the building. Exceptions may be considered for patients at end-of-life, or needing additional care. This must be approved in advanced by the patient's care team.
  • 1-2 visitors are allowed.
  • No overnight visits.

  • Visitors must schedule their visits.
  • Long-term patients are allowed 5 scheduled visits each week.
  • Rehab patients are allowed 4 scheduled visits each week.
  • Visits must be limited to 45 minutes; outdoor visits are preferred.
  • Masks must be worn by patients and visitors at all times.
  • Social distancing must be practiced at all times.

  • Visitors must check in at the front desk for their scheduled visit.
  • All visitors must show proof of being fully vaccinated or a negative COVID19 test result within 72 hours of arrival to enter the building.
  • The list of acceptable documents can be found in the California Department of Public Health Order.
 


**Palomar Health is not a free COVID-19 testing site**
The cash price for COVID-19 diagnostic lab testing at a Palomar Health hospital is $210 per test. Health plans are required to cover COVID-19 tests at no cost to the enrollee. It is recommended that you first contact your healthcare provider for a COVID-19 test.

Click here for a list of free COVID-19 testing sites provided by the County of San Diego.

Infection Prevention
Palomar Health’s Infection Prevention team has played a significant role in preventing staff and patients from contracting COVID-19 at all Palomar Health facilities during the pandemic. See how they do it. 

Emergency Services
We understand this is a time of uncertainty and many people are afraid to come to the hospital. We have seen patients in our Emergency Department who’ve avoided much needed medical treatment out of fear of contracting COVID-19. You should not be afraid. Seek medical care immediately if you’re having an emergency. The Emergency Department is safe and early treatment can result in drastically improved outcomes. Waiting can have irreversible consequences.
 
Our emergency department is always here, safe and ready to serve our community.

Hospital Safety
To ensure everyone’s safety, Palomar Health is testing all hospital patients for COVID-19 and ensuring all staff use personal protective equipment (PPE) above and beyond the recommended level. We’ve also taken unprecedented actions to clean and disinfect every area of the hospital and limit the number of people coming inside. The precautions include:
 
  • Screening all patients at the door for potential infectious diseases
  • Masking all patients and personnel throughout the hospital
  • Restricting visitors 
  • Unprecedented cleaning and sterilization of all surfaces
  • Isolating potential COVID-19 in a negative pressure room
 
Negative pressure rooms are designed to prevent the air from infectious disease patients from mixing with the air from the rest of the hospital. Learn how it works. 

Surgeries
Beginning in late April, Palomar Health resumed non-emergent, time-sensitive surgeries and has been steadily increasing the number and types of surgeries it is performing. Now may be the time to talk with your doctor about a surgery you feel may be necessary or following through on that medical procedure you have been putting off. Extra precautions are being taken to protect patients and healthcare workers. 

Talk to a Physician
If you are feeling ill (non-emergency) or are due for a medical check-up, don’t put off seeing your doctor any longer. Make your health a priority. Palomar Health is proud to be partners in health with Arch Health Medical Group and Graybill Medical Group who offer virtual and in-person visits for every need. You can also visit Palomar Health’s Find a Doctor page to select a physician that is right for you.
 
If you would like to learn more about Palomar Health’s response to COVID-19, visit www.PalomarHealth.org/Coronavirus.