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Oregon State Hospital Salem campus resumes family visitation

Oregon State Hospital
Oregon State Hospital
Oregon State Hospital

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- In-person visitation with family and friends resumed Wednesday for vaccinated patients on the Oregon State Hospital Salem campus, with safety precautions in place to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

The Junction City campus has been open for visitation since early October, when Lane County’s COVID-19 weekly test positivity rate fell below 8 percent, which is within the CDC’s “moderate” range. Marion County, however, has not met that threshold until now, when projections and corresponding evidence from state epidemiologists show it has reached that range.

“I’m thrilled to have reached this point, when patients and their families can finally see each other in person,” Superintendent Dolly Matteucci said in Wednesday's announcement.

At the hospital, stringent infection prevention protocols have kept patients safe, officials said.

OSH was one of the last psychiatric hospitals in the country to have a positive patient case and the numbers of patient positive cases are far lower than that of other hospitals, jails, prisons and long-term care facilities in Oregon. No OSH patient has died from COVID-19.

In-person visitation will not be available to unvaccinated patients, patients on Persons Under Investigation (PUI) units, where OSH monitors patients who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19, or patients on admissions units, who are quarantined for two weeks before mixing with the rest of the patient population. Visitation for unvaccinated patients will be allowed in the future when the risk of infection is lower.

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 will create separate visitation areas for patients based on their level of vulnerability to COVID-19. Video visits will continue to be available to all patients.

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