FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – For the first time in nearly two years, Kaweah Health will modify its visitation rules for COVID-19 patients.

Starting Monday, Kaweah Health will allow ICU and intermediate critical care COVID-19 patients to have routine day-to-day visitors for two one-hour sessions each day, but there will be strict guidelines that visitors will have to follow.

At the height of the pandemic, COVID-19 patients at Kaweah Health were not allowing routine visitors.

“When we started to allow visitors back in 2020 we didn’t include patients that had COVID,” said Kaweah Health’s Keri Noeske.

The new rules are strict, but it will mean much-needed support for patients who need it most.

“What that will look like is an hour visit at a time, one hour in the morning, one hour in the evening for one designated family member who is vaccinated,” said Noeske.

Visitors must be vaccinated and wear full PPE gear, meaning a surgical mask, face shield, goggles, gloves and a gown. The PPE gear will be provided. Noeske says the aggressive approach was made because the medical staff knew how important in-person family time was for their patient’s health.

“The move toward this was really thought out, we really tried to work hard on balancing where we’re at in this pandemic.”