Omicron?  Anyone?  Have you heard?  Omicron...?  Of course you have.  The news reports are everywhere, and a lot of the world is reacting to the rapid spread as though it's the original or delta variant of the coronavirus...only it's not.  So while many communities, cities, states, and even countries are in just as rapid retreat to more extreme protective requirements, Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital is reading the room and reaching a different conclusion.

Human Contact Changes Everything

The hospital's message is that COVID-19 community positivity rates are down, and daily COVID cases at Yakima Valley Memorial have dropped to under 20 patients a day for the past month. Given that reality, what's the right call moving forward?

They say "with thoughtful consideration of the needs of patients and their families during the holiday season, Memorial has revised its visitor policy at our acute-care hospital. In accordance with national, state, and local health guidelines, we are opening visitation to one masked visitor (age 12 or older) at a time per patient."

Well played. You don't need a white coat and a stethoscope to understand the benefit and importance of family involvement in caring for patients. Families provide emotional support which has positive effects on physiological and psychological health.

So Who Gets In To See Grandma

Visitors must show picture ID and proof of full vaccination, or picture ID and proof of a negative COVID-19 test within the past 72 hours.

Vaccination Requirement

· At least two doses of Moderna/Pfizer-BioNTech or one dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine

· Second Moderna/Pfizer-BioNTech dose or first Johnson & Johnson dose at least 14 days prior to visit

Acceptable Vaccine Documentation (validated with photo identification)

· Vaccination card -or-

· Photo of vaccination card -or-

· Printed copy of vaccine record from a healthcare provider -or-

· Digital vaccine record from the app

-or-

Acceptable Negative COVID-19 test result (validated with photo identification)

· Must have individual’s name, negative result, and date of test (rapid tests not acceptable)

· Date of test must be within 72 hours of visit

This policy is effective as of December 22, 2021, but could change again if changes in community positivity rates in Yakima County or our COVID patient count increase.

Exceptions to the one-visitor policy may be found on our website HERE

Answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

Vaccinations for COVID-19 began being administered in the U.S. on Dec. 14, 2020. The quick rollout came a little more than a year after the virus was first identified in November 2019. The impressive speed with which vaccines were developed has also left a lot of people with a lot of questions. The questions range from the practical—how will I get vaccinated?—to the scientific—how do these vaccines even work?

Keep reading to discover answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions.