Facilities should establish procedures for monitoring, managing and training all visitors, which should include:

  • All visitors should perform frequent hand hygiene and follow respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette precautions while in the facility, especially common areas.
  • Passively screen visitors for symptoms of acute respiratory illness before entering the healthcare facility
    • Post visual alerts (e.g., signs, posters) at the entrance and in strategic places (e.g., waiting areas, elevators, cafeterias) advising visitors not to enter the facility when ill.
  • Informing visitors about appropriate PPE use according to current facility visitor policy
  • Visitors to the most vulnerable patients (e.g., oncology and transplant wards) should be limited; visitors should be screened for symptoms prior to entry to the unit.
  • Limit visitors to patients with known or suspected COVID-19. Encourage use of alternative mechanisms for patient and visitor interactions such as video-call applications on cell phones or tablets. If visitation must occur, visits should be scheduled and controlled to allow for the following:
    • Facilities should evaluate risk to the health of the visitor (e.g., visitor might have underlying illness putting them at higher risk for COVID-19) and ability to comply with precautions.
    • Facilities should provide instruction, before visitors enter patients’ rooms, on hand hygiene, limiting surfaces touched, and use of PPE according to current facility policy while in the patient’s room.
    • Visitors should not be present during AGPs or other specimen collection procedures.
    • Visitors should be instructed to only visit the patient room. They should not go to other locations in the facility.

Additional considerations during periods of community transmission:

  • All visitors should be actively assessed for fever and respiratory symptoms upon entry to the facility. If fever or respiratory symptoms are present, visitor should not be allowed entry into the facility.
  • Determine the threshold at which screening of persons entering the facility will be initiated and at what point screening will escalate from passive (e.g., signs at the entrance) to active (e.g., direct questioning) to restricting all visitors to the facility.
  • If restriction of all visitors is implemented, facilities can consider exceptions based on end-of-life situations or when a visitor is essential for the patient’s emotional well-being and care.
  • Limit points of entry to the facility.