COVID-19

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that spreads person-to-person and has affected people in many countries. Here are some resources to learn more.

Ascension’s Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

As cases of community spread of COVID-19 increase, Ascension continues to diligently monitor and respond to this evolving situation to protect our patients, associates and the communities we serve.  This website is updated daily and we encourage you to check back regularly for new information.

What You Need to Know

Updated: 3/17/2020

The White House has issued the President’s new Coronavirus Guidelines for America — 15 Days to Slow the Spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Click here to learn more.

COVID-19 (pronounced as CO-VID 19), is a newly identified respiratory virus that was first detected in the city of Wuhan, China. COVID-19 is a virus that causes mild cold-like symptoms in the majority of patients, but could lead to more serious illness including pneumonia in elderly individuals and those who have chronic medical conditions. Because of this, elderly individuals and patients with chronic medical conditions should take greater precautions to avoid exposure to the virus.

The health and safety of patients, associates and visitors are our top priorities. Our infection prevention and emergency response teams at Ascension are working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local public health authorities to identify ways to detect, protect and respond according to current recommendations.

Based on current CDC guidelines, we have implemented the recommended infection control  protocols to protect patients, visitors and our healthcare workforce. Our caregivers are trained in these protocols to ensure we’re providing patients with personalized care by understanding and addressing their health needs upon entering our sites of care (inpatient and outpatient.)

Illness Symptoms and Prevention

Click here for more ways to protect yourself and your family.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

According to the CDC, symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild to severe and may appear 2-14 days after being exposed to the virus. Symptoms seen with the infection with COVID-19 are not specific,  with symptoms ranging from cold-like symptoms in mild cases to severe illness and death.

Screening

What should I do if I think I may have symptoms or have been exposed to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)?

  • Contact your physician: Anyone who thinks they may have had contact with someone who is being tested for, or is confirmed to have COVID-19, should call their doctor’s office.
  • Call ahead: To help prevent the spread of disease, the CDC recommends people with cold-like symptoms, call ahead before going to a healthcare facility to let the staff know about any symptoms and recent travel. Healthcare workers will work with your public health department to see if you need to be tested for COVID-19.
  • Consider virtual care: To help prevent the spread of disease and meet the needs of our patients and the communities we serve, Ascension is helping to improve access to care from the comfort of your own home. For online urgent care from your computer or mobile device, Ascension Online Care is available 24/7.
  • Medical Emergency: In the case of a medical emergency or if you are experiencing severe symptoms requiring immediate attention, call 911.

Watch for symptoms and emergency warning signs

Pay attention to potential COVID-19 symptoms including, fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you feel like you are developing symptoms, call your doctor. If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately and/or call 911.

In adults, emergency warning signs* may include:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all-inclusive. Please consult your medical provider immediately for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

Preventing the spread of illness

There is currently no vaccine to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The virus is thought to be  spread similar to influenza, where individuals can get it by coming into contact with droplets from the nose (through someone’s cough, sneeze, tissue or a surface they’ve touched.) You are more likely to become infected with COVID-19 if you are in close contact with someone that has the infection and is coughing or sneezing near you. The CDC defines “close contact” as being within about six feet of someone for a prolonged period of time without covering your face.

The best way to avoid infection is to minimize the risk for exposure. This includes:

  • Avoiding crowds and close contact with people who are sick.
  • Wash your hands frequently with either soap and water for 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home if you are sick, except to seek medical care.
  • Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue and throwing the tissue in the trash
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces
  • Reducing unnecessary travel
  • Wearing a mask when going out in public if you think you have a contagious respiratory infection

Treatment and Accessing Care

Visitor limitations within Ascension care settings (inpatient and outpatient) have been implemented to help balance our patient’s rights to receive visitors with our efforts to ensure the safety of our patients and healthcare workers.  We encourage you to call ahead for more specific local visitor restrictions and the appropriate exceptions.

Ascension is asking potential visitors who have flu-like symptoms and/or cough, fever, and/or shortness of breath, runny nose/nasal congestion or sore throat to defer patient visitation at this time and also seek treatment for themselves as appropriate.

Additionally, as per CDC guidance, visitors should not visit if they have returned from a country within the last 14 days that the CDC has designated as Level 3 Warning or Level 2 for Novel Coronavirus.

Refer to countries here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

We further ask that visitors are limited to only one at any given time.

Visitors should wash their hands and/or use an alcohol-based hand rub prior to entering and when leaving a patient’s room. This is for your protection.

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