Novel coronavirus information

December 31, 2021

Important changes at UW Medicine (Message to UW Medicine patients)

This message was sent to UW Medicine patients.

To Our Valued Patients and Their Families,

UW Medicine’s goal is to create a safe environment for our patients, staff and visitors. With the number of COVID-19 cases continuing to rise in the community, we are taking a variety of steps to maintain our ability to safely care for our patients.

Postponement of Non-Urgent Surgeries and Procedures

We are postponing non-urgent surgeries and procedures scheduled through Friday, Jan. 14, 2022. Our physicians and operational teams are reviewing each case and will only reschedule those that can safely be postponed to a later date. If you have a surgery or procedure that needs to be postponed, you will be contacted by the operational team. We understand that delays can be difficult for patients and their families, but this will help us maintain the necessary staffing and bed capacity to provide safe, quality care in the weeks ahead.

Telehealth Visits are Encouraged

UW Medicine continues to offer telehealth visits as an option to in-person appointments. Additionally, we encourage video visits if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms of COVID-19: cough, shortness of breath, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, gastrointestinal symptoms (such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea), headache or runny nose. You can schedule a telehealth or other visit through My Chart or by calling the Contact Center at 206.520.5000.

Testing For COVID-19

Due to the surge of COVID-19 cases in our community, we need to prioritize our testing sites for those individuals with symptoms or exposure to a known case of COVID-19. Until we see a decline in the number of individuals testing positive for COVID-19, we will not be able to provide testing for travel or gatherings for individuals without symptoms.

We also appreciate that there is a national shortage of available home antigen tests. If you are otherwise healthy with mild symptoms and cannot find testing availability, you should presume that you have COVID-19 and self-isolate per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for five days followed by five days of strict mask wearing as long as your symptoms are improving. Please contact your healthcare practitioner with any questions regarding your symptoms.

Changes to Our Visitor Policy

We have updated our visitor policy to limit the hours of visitation as well as the number of visitors allowed in our facilities. Effective Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, each patient may have only one visitor for one hour during designated visiting hours.

  • Harborview Medical Center: Visiting hours are 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • UW Medical Center (Montlake and Northwest campuses): Visiting hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Before you visit, please check our website at for any updates to our policy as visiting hours may change. You will also find information on exceptions to this policy. Please note that if you are visiting, you must show proof of vaccination, or a negative COVID-19 test collected within three days of the visit and wear a medical-grade mask at all times. This information can also be found on our website.

Please Stay Safe and Healthy

The best way to avoid serious COVID-19 illness is to get vaccinated or boosted if you are already fully vaccinated. With the Omicron variant, we are finding once again that people who have been vaccinated do not get as sick as those who are unvaccinated. We also encourage you to physically distance, limit indoor gathering with individuals outside of your household, practice good hand hygiene and wear a well-fitting mask in indoor public settings. Please note that we recommend wearing a medical-grade mask, which offers better protection than a cloth mask. In addition, we will provide you with a clean surgical mask to put over your personal mask as an added level of safety and protection whenever you come to our hospitals or clinics.

Thank you for choosing UW Medicine for your care. We recognize that none of us thought we would be in the midst of yet another COVID-19 surge two years into the pandemic and appreciate your continued understanding and partnership. We will continue to update you on any operational changes. Best wishes to you and your family for a happy and healthy New Year.


Lisa Brandenburg
President, UW Medicine Hospitals & Clinics
Vice President for Medical Affairs
University of Washington

Timothy H. Dellit, MD
Chief Medical Officer, UW Medicine
Vice President for Medical Affairs,
University of Washington and
President, UW Physicians