Visits resume for vaccinated patients at Oregon State Hospital’s Salem campus

The Oregon State Hospital on Friday, May 28, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Patients at the Oregon State Hospital in Salem who are vaccinated against Covid can once again visit with family and friends in-person, the hospital announced Wednesday.

Visitors have been banned from the Salem campus since the March 2020 as part of the hospital’s infection control guidelines to limit the spread of Covid. That’s meant many of the 500 people living at the hospital have had limited contact with friends and family for over a year and a half, with video visits and phone calls.

The decision came after the share of positive Covid tests in Marion County fell below 8% weekly, the hospital said in a news release. The hospital’s smaller Junction City campus has been allowing visitors since early October, when Lane County hit that target.

Not all patients will be able to receive visitors, the release said. Patients unvaccinated against Covid and those being monitored because they have symptoms of illness won’t be eligible. Patients newly admitted to the hospital are quarantined for two weeks and won’t be able to receive visitors during that time.

In order to minimize infection risk, the hospital has created new guidelines for visitation, including requiring advance scheduling, limiting visitors to two per patient, requiring patients and visitors to wear masks, spacing chairs apart to allow physical distancing and not allowing consumption of food or beverages during the visit. In addition, all visitors must complete a health screening before entering the hospital. Those who refuse or fail the health screening will be asked to reschedule their visit,” the hospital said in a Wednesday news release.

-Rachel Alexander