Santa Barbara County hospitals allow for visitation with restrictions

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Cottage Health announced in a recent COVID-19 update that it resumed limited visitation for the public to see patients.

Depending on the unit location, most hospitalized patients will be permitted one or two visitors during the day, and one overnight by request.

VISITATION RESUMED Northern Santa Barbara County hospitals, such as Cottage Hospital in Santa Ynez, now allow for patient visitation, with restrictions and limitations. - PHOTO COURTESY OF SANTA YNEZ VALLEY COTTAGE HOSPITAL’S FACEBOOK PAGE
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF SANTA YNEZ VALLEY COTTAGE HOSPITAL’S FACEBOOK PAGE
  • VISITATION RESUMED Northern Santa Barbara County hospitals, such as Cottage Hospital in Santa Ynez, now allow for patient visitation, with restrictions and limitations.
“To protect patients and staff, visitors will be asked to wear a face mask at all times, and enter and leave only once per day,” the announcement stated. “Hospital cafeterias and waiting areas will remain closed to visitors.”



Cottage Health added that visitation allowances may shift depending on changes to the community’s COVID-19 spread.

Cottage’s COVID-19 webpage lists specific visitation guidelines for the hospital’s three locations (Santa Barbara, Goleta Valley, and Santa Ynez Valley). Visitors will need to remain in the patient’s room for the duration of the visit, the guidelines add.

As of Oct. 12, Cottage Health is caring for six patients in isolation with COVID-19 symptoms across its campuses. Three are confirmed COVID-19 positive, and four are in critical care.

Other North County hospitals also allow for modified visitation.

“Following the end of the most recent surge four weeks ago, Marian Regional Medical Center revised its visitation policy to allow at least one care partner per patient,” Dignity Health Central Coast Division Director of Marketing and Communications Sara San Juan said via email. “Additional visitors may be requested on a case-by-case basis.”

San Juan said that the hospital’s visitation decisions are made “in coordination with the Santa Barbara County Department of Public Health direction and health orders, along with physician and hospital leadership to assure the safety of our patients, staff, physicians, and visitors.”

She added that visitation allowances are based on the “clinical condition of the patient.” This, of course, impacts the ability for COVID-19 patients to have visitors, but also other patients who have certain conditions, San Juan said.

“Currently, visitors are permitted for COVID-19 positive patients on a case-by-case basis,” she wrote.

Similar to Cottage and Marian, Lompoc Valley Medical Center (LVMC) Public Relations Coordinator Nora Wallace said that the hospital’s visitation allowances follow “the guidelines of the county's Public Health Department Health Officer orders.”



“We now allow two ‘designated’ visitors per patient per day—no random visitors,” Wallace wrote via email. “Obviously no active COVID-positive visitors [are allowed] or those who believe they may have been exposed.”

LVMC does not allow visitors younger than 13, and the visitation hours (a new addition during the pandemic) are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. However, Wallace added, “there are also exceptions for patients nearing the end of life. Specific requests in those instances will be addressed by the nursing administration or hospital supervisor of the day.”

As of Oct. 12, no in-person visitation is allowed at LVMC’s skilled nursing facility, the Comprehensive Care Center, however the hospital can arrange for remote visits.

As of Oct. 9, LVMC has no hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

Oct. 13 Update: Santa Ynez Cottage Hospital is now allowing for overnight visitors. Cottage Health recently updated its website with the updated visitation information. Δ
—Malea Martin

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