Patient and visitor guidelines: What you need to know for your next visit

Providing safe, remarkable care for our patients and families is always our priority. Thank you for partnering with us to take extra precautions to ensure everyone's safety.


General policies

If you are positive for COVID-19 within 10 days (or 20 days for immunocompromised patients) of an in-person appointment, contact your clinic to discuss your upcoming visit.

All patients and visitors to UW Health clinic and hospital locations are required to answer screening questions regarding COVID-19.

Mask guidelines

Face coverings

Masks are recommended at many UW Health clinics and hospitals. Barrier masks are required in UW Health locations considered to be high risk based on the patient population served and where patients have compromised immune systems. Patients or visitors with cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms should always wear a mask. Cloth masks or masks with valves are not allowed.

Barrier masks

  • Provide a higher level of protection than face coverings

  • They prevent respiratory droplets that are in the air from entering your mouth and nose

  • They stop your respiratory droplets from reaching other people

Patients who arrive where masks are required will be provided a barrier mask to wear. In addition, the mask must cover both the nose and mouth and be worn the entire time. Patients who are not able to tolerate wearing a mask over the mouth and nose should contact their health care provider by phone or through MyChart. Immunocompromised patients should consider wearing a tight-fitting mask like a KN95 or N95.


Ambulatory clinics/settings

Masks are required at the Regional Cancer Center, for all direct patient interaction.

Masks are recommended but not required at all primary care clinics and other non-hospital clinic spaces, including patient rooms, except for the Regional Cancer Center.

Inpatient and surgical services areas

Masks are required in high-risk areas where patients have compromised immune systems, including:

  • Critical Care Unit

  • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Masks are recommended but not required in most inpatient settings.


Ambulatory clinics/settings

Masks are required for high-risk ambulatory locations including the waiting rooms, registration/scheduling areas and exam/procedural rooms within them:

  • Breast Center

  • Cancer Clinics

  • Chemotherapy Room

  • Dialysis

  • Emergency Departments

  • Infectious Disease Clinic

  • Infusion Center

  • Johnson Creek Regional Cancer Center

  • Multi-Disciplinary GI Cancer Clinic

  • Pulmonary Clinic

  • Radiation Oncology

  • Transplant Clinic

  • Urgent Care (waiting rooms only)

Masks are recommended but not required at low-risk ambulatory locations including:

  • All clinics not listed as high-risk

  • Madison Surgery Center

Hospital locations

In Wisconsin, within University Hospital, American Family Children’s Hospital and East Madison Hospital masks are required with every patient interaction within a hospital setting including entry to every patient room. Patient interaction is defined as an intentional interaction. For example, caring for a patient or a conversation that takes place between a patient and clinician or patient/visitor and other staff member.

Masks are also required in high-risk hospital areas including:

  • Waiting rooms

  • Exam/procedural rooms

  • Registration/scheduling

  • Patient rooms

Patients may request that care team members wear masks in an area designated as ‘masking recommended,’ and staff and providers will honor the request.

Visitor info

Primary support persons and visitors

Our goal is to provide a safe, healing environment. For everyone’s safety, please respect these guidelines.

Visitors to Madison, Wis. locations

Our visitor policy allows for the following:

Emergency Department

  • 2 visitors

University Hospital and East Madison Hospital

  • 2 visitors

  • No limit on total number of visitors per stay

  • Visiting hours: 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.

American Family Children's Hospital

  • 2 designated primary support/caregivers allowed with the patient 24/7 within the following guidelines:

    • Primary support/caregiver must be older than 16 years of age

    • Primary support/caregiver will be the only people allowed to sleep overnight at the patient's bedside

  • Additional visitors are allowed during hospital visiting hours

  • Total number of primary support and visitors in the patient room cannot be more than 2 people at a time

  • Visiting hours: 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.


  • Primary support/visitor number not restricted

Urgent Care Locations

  • Primary support/visitor number not restricted

Guidelines for visiting a patient in isolation

  • Limit of 2 visitors at the same time. Follow other designated visitor guidelines above.

  • Visitors should go directly to the patient's room and remain in the room during the visit, except to use the public restroom

  • For everyone's safety, visitors should wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and follow all instructions provided

  • COVID-19 confirmed patient may only have visitors for end-of-life care, when required legally and/or 1 visitor for 1 hour each day

General guidelines

  • Primary support persons, visitors and health care decision-makers who are currently experiencing or recently experienced any acute respiratory symptoms, such as a cough or shortness of breath, or diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 10 days are not permitted.

  • Do not visit if you are experiencing a fever, cough, sore throat or body aches

  • Visitors under 18 years of age must be supervised at all times by an adult. For adults in the emergency department or hospital, the adult cannot be the patient.

We understand the importance of keeping patients connected with their loved ones while receiving care. To stay connected we encourage patients and families to use phone or video chat with anyone who is unable to visit.