Patient visitation suspended at all UW Medicine hospitals over coronavirus concerns

SEATTLE - UW Medicine hospitals are suspending routine patient visits starting Wednesday (March 11) in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The new policy -- in place at UW Medical Center (Montlake and Northwest campuses in Seattle), Harborview Medical Center in Seattle and Valley Medical Center in Renton -- is in effect until further notice.

"This is a difficult decision. It’s not an easy decision to make, but it is critically important that we keep our patients safe during this outbreak," said Lisa Brandenburg, president of UW Medicine hospitals and clinics.

There are exceptions to the no visitors policy, the health system said, but all visitors will be screened and no one will be allowed in if they have symptoms of a respiratory infection (fever, runny nose, cough, shortness of breath). Children under 16 will not be allowed except in "extraordinary circumstances."

Exceptions include:

    No visitors will be allowed for patients who have a pending or positive COVID-19 test. Visitors allowed must stay in the patients' room the entire time of the visit. Once the visitor leaves the patient room, they must leave the medical center.