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ALERT: Please do not bring children under the age of 18 to visit hospitals or healthcare facilities. For their safety, please do not leave children unattended on ARHS property, including inside cars. 

Updated: September 9, 2021

Masks are still required inside ARHS patient care areas

We know that many of our patients are happy to see a decline in COVID-19 infections in our community and were excited to hear the CDC’s recent mask updates. However, the new CDC guidance states that certain settings would still require masks and other safety measures.

Everyone, including individuals who are fully vaccinated, are still required to wear a mask in healthcare settings such as hospitals and doctor’s offices. As ARHS continues to follow CDC guidelines, all patients and visitors are required to wear a face mask over the mouth and nose, during their visit to any of our facilities.


General COVID-19 Visitor Guidelines

At Hospitals, Outpatient Offices and other ARHS Locations, visitors must:

  • Wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth at all times (except while eating in select areas).
  • Have a health screening check when they enter the building.
  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Be in good health (free from respiratory illness, fever, cough, etc.).
  • Stay in the patient room visiting the patient, they cannot roam the hospital.
  • Follow all social distancing and safety guidance. This includes wearing masks, staying six feet from others and hand washing.
  • If a visitor does not follow the guidance above, it can cause serious safety concerns. They will be escorted out of the building in order to keep our patients and staff safe.
  • Special circumstances will be managed by the House Supervisor or Practice Manager.
  • Visitors may NOT enter If they have COVID-19 or are waiting on COVID-19 test results.


Watauga Medical Center & Cannon Memorial Hospital

Adult Patients
Visiting hours are 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Two (2) visitors will be allowed for adult patients at any given time. Each room will have two visitor badges, which must be worn by visitors at all times. Visitors may change throughout the day and may leave the facility and return during the same day. If both badges are checked out from a room, additional visitors may not enter.

Patients having surgery may have one (1) visitor with them until they are in their patient room, even if they arrive before 7:00 a.m. Once they are in their patient room, they may have up to two (2) visitors from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Pediatric Patients
Patients under 18 may have two (2) parents or guardians visit any time of day, however these visitors may not change and must remain the same throughout hospitalization. This is to minimize any risks to newborns and to allow for rapid tracking should a COVID infection occur.


WMC Birthing Center

Laboring patients may have two (2) designated visitors, which may not change and must remain the same throughout hospitalization. After the birth of the baby, only one (1) designated overnight visitor may stay. The second visitor may return at 7:00 am and must leave by 8:00 pm. A doula will be considered the second visitor.


Emergency Departments

Emergency Departments patients are allowed one (1) visitor any time of day, unless otherwise approved by the clinical team. Two (2) parents or guardians are allowed if patients are under 18. Visitors must wear a badge with the room number identified.

If the Emergency Department is busy, visitors will not be allowed in waiting rooms. Visitors will have to remain outside the Emergency Department (in their vehicle) until the patient is placed in a room.

Exceptions will be managed by the ED Charge Nurse.


Inpatient Behavioral Health

Visiting hours are 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. One (1) visitor will be allowed for a period of 30 minutes, by appointment only. Potential visitors should call (828) 737-7000 to schedule an appointment.


Medical Practices/Doctor’s Offices

One (1) visitor will be allowed to come to doctor visits with adult patients. Two (2) parents or guardians are allowed to come to visits if patients are under 18.

For special situations, the Provider will work with the office manager to find the best solution for the patient.
Patients and/or Visitors may be asked or choose to wait in their vehicles and be called on their cell phones when a room is ready if space is limited or they do not wish to wait in the public area.


End of Life Situations

Patients with COVID-19 (End-of-Life Situations)

  • One (1) visitor is allowed during end-of-life situations. Otherwise, visitors are not allowed.
  • Visitors must wear a gown, gloves and a surgical mask.
  • Physician and House Supervisor will determine what is considered “end of life”

Non-COVID-19 Patients (End-of-Life Situations)

  • End-of-Life visitation will be considered and approved on a case-by-case request and need.
  • Visitors must wear a surgical mask.
  • There are no visitation time limits.