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New mandate requires proof of vaccination for hospital visitors
Emanuel Medical Center
Visitors to Emanuel Medical Center must have their proof of full vaccination or documentation of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours ready to show staff upon entering the hospital, starting Aug. 11 (Journal file photo). - photo by Journal file photo

Anyone going to visit someone at Emanuel Medical Center, or any hospital in California, will have to provide proof of vaccination or provide documentation of a negative COVID-19 test.

A statewide mandate goes into effect Wednesday and stipulates anyone wanting to enter a hospital will have to be vaccinated or have a negative COVID-19 test that was within the last 72 hours, according to the California Department of Public Health.

California is currently experiencing the fastest increase in COVID-19 cases during the entire pandemic with 18.3 new cases per 100,000 people per day, with case rates increasing ninefold within two months, the CDPH reported. The Delta variant, which is very highly contagious and possibly more virulent, is currently the most common variant causing new infections in California.

"While there is currently a significant increase in the community transmission of COVID-19 in California, vaccination against COVID-19 is the most effective means of preventing further infections, transmission, and outbreaks," said Dr. Tomas Aragon, the CDPH director and public health officer. "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. 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. Requiring well-fitting face masks for all visitors is an important step for source control. An emphasis on vaccination and testing should also contribute to reduction of transmission risk in these high-risk settings."

The order applies to all general acute care hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and intermediate care facilities.

"We ask that visitors to our hospitals have their proof of full vaccination or documentation of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours ready to show our staff upon entering the hospital. Examples of acceptable documentation include a valid and complete CDC vaccination card or electronic copy or a valid and complete vaccination record from the state registry," said Emanuel Medical spokesperson Krista Deans.

Visitors of end-of-life patients are exempt from the vaccination and testing requirements.