Kaweah Delta will start allowing visitors from next week

Every patient in the acute medical center will be allowed to have one visitor during visiting hours
VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fewer COVID-19 patients at Kaweah Delta Medical Center means more visitors are allowed in the hospital halls.

While Tulare County remains in the most restrictive 'purple tier', the Visalia facility has the proper safety measures in place to re-open the doors to the families of patients.

"We will start allowing every patient in the acute medical center to have one visitor during visiting hours," Chief Executive Officer Gary Herbst said.

For months, the hospital wasn't allowing visitors due to the coronavirus pandemic and an overwhelming number of patients in the ICU.

Medical officials, however, said the number of cases has declined, and several other factors have improved since the start of the pandemic.

"There's greater abundance of PPE, we've learned about the treatment and the infection prevention," Herbst said.

The hospital is restoring elective surgeries, and starting to schedule them to avoid having too many patients in the facility at one time.

Limited visitors will also be allowed at their skilled nursing facilities.

"We are scheduling for those residents to have two family members and two visits a week," Chief Nursing Officer Keri Noeske.

Visitors will have to pass a COVID-19 screening prior to coming inside the hospital.

"Anybody that has COVID-19 symptoms or recently diagnosed with COVID or has a temperature won't be able to visit," Noeske said.

Labor and delivery will continue with only one person in the room, and emergency department visitors will be allowed on a case by case basis.

Other Valley hospitals, like Community Regional Medical Center and St. Agnes, both in Fresno, said their visitor policies at this time will remain the same, despite Fresno County being in the less restrictive 'red tier'.

Officials at Mercy Medical Center in Merced said their policy will remain unchanged until further notice.

Kaweah Delta will allow visitors as early as Monday.
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