Keck Medicine of USC announced last week that all visitors to its locations, including USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or provide proof of a negative test before entering its facilities for an inpatient visitation.
Visitors must be two weeks removed from their final dose of vaccine — that is, the second doses of the Pfizer or Moderna shots or the singular dose of the Johnson & Johnson variety — before visiting. Those visitors can provide their vaccination cards issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, show a photo or copy of the card or use the electronic record to provide proof of vaccination.
Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated visitors are eligible for indoor visits only if they can provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test that was collected within 72 hours of each visit.
“We strongly feel that the available COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective at reducing infections, hospitalizations and severe complications, and that these requirements will create a safer environment for patients, visitors, staff and our general community,” Keck officials said in a statement.
Additionally, beginning Sept. 20, Keck require all healthcare workers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This requirement also applies to all contract and temporary workers as well as volunteers, vendors, and to Keck staff and trainees who work in its facilities.
This change will occur 10 days before the healthcare worker vaccination mandate issued by the California Department of Public Health. Exceptions will only be allowed for religious and approved medical reasons, and those who are exempted must be tested for COVID-19 at least once per week and wear an N-95 mask. Exempted staff working in an acute or surgical setting will be tested twice a week.
Keck reported that its staff vaccination rate is high: 87% of physicians and 84% of staff have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Officials with the medical system said they are working continually to increase those numbers as much as possible over the next few weeks.