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Dignity Health Central Coast Hospitals Limit Visitors

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Updated imitations put in place as a protective measure against COVID-19, seasonal flu, and other flulike illnesses

CENTRAL COAST, CA – March 17, 2020 – Due to significant flu-like activity in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties and concerns about transmitting COVID-19, Arroyo Grande Community Hospital (AGCH), French Hospital Medical Center (FHMC), and Marian Regional Medical Center (MRMC), members of Dignity Health, have implemented the following visitor restrictions.

While we are taking these precautions to be compliant with federal, state, and local guidance, the health care and best interest of our patients and community remains our first priority. 

Effective immediately at all hospitals: 

  • All visitors must be 16 years of age or older. 
  • Only one visitor at a time per patient is allowed in the hospital, with exceptions for individual situations requiring special consideration.
  • We are offering patients the convenience of electronic communication options as an alternative to hospital visitation. 
  • Patients and visitors may only enter through the hospital Emergency Department. All other entrances are employee-access only.
  • All community workshops and classes, bariatric seminars and support groups, prenatal classes, birthing tours and classes will be postponed until further notice.  
  • Only one labor and delivery care partner is permitted (FHMC & MRMC)
  • Mission Hope Cancer Center in Arroyo Grande and Santa Maria has restricted visitation to one care partner. 
  • Per recommendation by California Governor Gavin Newsom, it is advised that hospital volunteers age 65 and over maintain home isolation.
  • All hospital gift shops are closed until further notice. 
  • In an abundance of caution, hospital cafés are following local public health guidelines and are now serving pre-packaged items. This will not impact patient nutrition.

At French Hospital Medical Center: 

  • The Hearst Cancer Resource Center will be interfacing with patients by telephone and is in the process of modifying group support sessions to conference calls. 

At Marian Regional Medical Center:

  • Visitors are currently not permitted at Marian Extended Care Center (MECC). 
  • All prenatal classes, birthing tours, and the Mommy Meet Up support group will be canceled through 3/31/2020.
  • Patients may also access the hospital through the outpatient entrance, located at 1400 East Church Street. 

Visitors are being screened using the standards established by the health department in our respective counties.  Additionally, masks are required at all times for Emergency Department patients experiencing fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, and/or nasal congestion. 

If you would like to visit someone in the hospital but you are experiencing fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, and/or nasal congestion, please visit on another day when you have been symptom free for at least 48 hours.

By limiting the number of people in the hospital setting, we are following the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) guidelines for reducing the spread of flu-like illnesses. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Older individuals with severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness. In addition, remember to wash your hands frequently, use hand sanitizer, and avoid touching your face.

This situation is rapidly changing. Restricted access points and visiting guidelines may change daily. For the latest information, please check our websites:,, and

The restricted visitor policy will be lifted as soon as possible. Hospital officials urge people of all ages with flu-like symptoms to stay home and consult first with their primary care physician.

For the latest information on COVID-19, please visit the San Luis Obispo County Health Department, the Santa Barbara County Health Department, and


About Dignity Health Central Coast 
Dignity Health Central Coast is comprised of five award-winning hospitals, all recognized for their quality of care, safety and service, primary care offices, premier ambulatory surgery centers, technologically advanced imaging centers, outpatient services, and comprehensive home health services. Each hospital is supported by an active philanthropic Foundation to provide additional funding to support new programs and services, as well as to advance the community’s access to health care.  For more information, visit

Publish date: 

Tuesday, March 17, 2020