On Aug. 20, CDPH issued FAQs on the state public health officer order on hospital visitation. This health order requires vaccine verification or proof of a COVID-19 test for visitors of hospitals and other facilities. The FAQs provide clarifications, in addition to those issued in All Facilities Letter (AFL) 21-31, on who is covered by the order and who is not, as well as what tests are acceptable to use.
The following individuals are not required to meet COVID-19 vaccine verification or testing requirements:
- Fire, police, ambulance, and other pre-hospital care workers if they are entering the facility while on duty for their job.
- Parents and legal guardians of patients when their presence is legally necessary to make decisions about care and treatment for a minor child; previously, parents and legal guardian visitors of pediatric patients were only exempted in emergent situations.
- Support persons for a patient with physical, intellectual, developmental disability, or cognitive impairment when the facility has determined that allowing their presence is required as a reasonable accommodation to support the patient with a disability. Previously, support persons were only exempted in emergent situations.
- Visitors with power of attorney when the visit is to address legal matters that cannot be postponed or accomplished virtually, including but not limited to voting, estate planning, advance health care directives, Power of Attorney, and transfer of property title.
- Individuals accompanying a person who is seeking urgent or emergent care. Previously, it was more limited to certain types of care and certain patients.
By contrast, the following visitors are required to meet COVID-19 vaccine verifications and testing requirements:
- County child welfare social workers
- Children ages 2-11, even though they are not eligible for vaccination (thus, they are subject to the testing requirements)
Tests that can be accepted are:
- Only COVID-19 tests from approved testing sites are accepted. At-home tests are not acceptable.
- Other NAAT tests (e.g., ID Now) beyond SARS-CoV-2 PCR and antigen tests, as long as the test has EUA by the FDA or is operating per the Laboratory Developed Test requirements by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
As mentioned, on Aug. 12, CDPH issued AFL 21-31 with initial clarifications. CHA is reaching out to CDPH to inquire about whether it will issue an update to that AFL to incorporate these additional clarifications. In the meantime, CHA advises hospitals to follow all three documents: the health order, AFL, and the new FAQs.