News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

St. Charles to require vaccination for visitors

Starting next week, all visitors to St. Charles Health System hospitals or clinics will have to be be fully vaccinated.

Effective October 18, visitors will only be allowed if they provide acceptable proof that they are fully vaccinated. On October 18, health care workers are also required to be fully vaccinated by the state of Oregon.

“We know what an important role visitors and support persons play in a patient’s healing process,” said Dr. Jeff Absalon, the health system’s chief physician executive. “However, throughout this pandemic, safety has been our top priority. With this as our guide, we have had to make changes to our visitor policy to keep our patients, caregivers, and others safe.”

A person is considered fully vaccinated if at least two weeks have passed since they received their second dose of a two-dose series (Pfizer or Moderna) or a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson).

Acceptable proof of vaccination is:

•?A COVID-19 vaccination record card.

•?A copy or digital picture of the vaccination record card.

•?A printout from the Oregon Health Authority’s immunization registry.

•?A screenshot or printout from an electronic medical record showing vaccination status.

•?A St. Charles Health System badge with a COVID vaccination sticker.

Unvaccinated visitors will only be allowed under extraordinary circumstances. This could include a visitor to a patient who is at the end of life, a parent of a pediatric patient, a “support person” as defined by Oregon law, or an emergency response worker who may need to enter a hospital or clinic while on duty.

Currently, patients who are positive for COVID-19 are not allowed any visitors. This will continue to be the case regardless of a visitor’s vaccination status. Virtual visits for COVID-19 patients are still encouraged to support the family’s involvement.

All other patients have the right to at least one fully vaccinated visitor per day provided the visitor is 12 or older. That same visitor may come and go throughout the same day.

“We want nothing more than to return to ‘normal,’ but we’re just not there yet,” Absalon said. “As a health system, we must continue to be hypervigilant about controlling the spread of the virus in our facilities. We owe that to our patients, many of whom are medically fragile, and to our hard-working caregivers, who put themselves at risk every day to care for our



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