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October 21, 2021

New visitor restrictions take effect at Monterey County hospitals

Proof of full Covid-19 vaccination or negative Covid-19 test required

MONTEREY COUNTY — Hospitals in Monterey County have implemented new restrictions on visitors to reduce the transmission of Covid-19 to staff and patients.

Beginning Wednesday, Aug. 11, all visitors to area hospitals will be required to show either proof of full Covid-19 vaccination or proof of a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours before their visit. The test can be a PCR or antigen test.

The new restrictions are in compliance with a state public health order issued last week on Aug. 5.

“Visitors who are visiting a patient in critical condition, when death may be imminent, are exempt from these vaccination and testing requirements but must follow all mask, personal protective equipment (PPE), and physical distancing requirements,” stated Monterey County Health Department in a news release Tuesday.

Monterey County’s four hospitals — Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula in Monterey; Natividad Medical Center and Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System in Salinas; and Mee Memorial Hospital in King City — also have additional restrictions for visitors, including limited visiting hours, masking and the number of visitors allowed per patient.

At Mee Memorial, for instance, visiting hours are now limited to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for the duration of this special order. All patients must have an appointment, and no walk-ins are allowed.

Call 831-385-7100 or 831-674-0112 to schedule an appointment.

According to the order, unvaccinated individuals are more likely to get infected and spread the virus, which is transmitted through the air. Most current hospitalizations and deaths are among unvaccinated persons, health officials said.

“With a significant increase in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations in Monterey County, vaccinations are the most effective way to help prevent further spread of the virus and reduce severe illness and hospitalization,” the health department stated.

Residents and visitors can find testing sites and free vaccination locations on the Monterey County Health Department’s Covid-19 website or by visiting local hospital websites.

“We appreciate the public’s understanding of these changes as we seek to keep the community, our patients, and our staff safe from Covid-19,” the news release concluded.

Ryan Cronk
Ryan Cronk is the managing editor for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for South Monterey County and the surrounding communities.
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