COVID-19 Information

ALERTS:

What MedStar Health is Doing

The health of our patients, physicians, staff and visitors is our top priority. Our clinicians are well prepared to accurately screen for risk of COVID-19 and respond immediately to prevent further spread. We are following the guidance of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) so that patients affected by COVID-19 will be able to get the care they need while protecting the health and safety of our associates and the community at large.

MedStar Health is a comprehensive system across the Maryland and Washington, D.C. region with hundreds of locations, including an extensive primary care and urgent care network, MedStar eVisit (telehealth) solutions, and acute care hospitals with world renowned experts in infectious disease and infection prevention.

If you are experiencing respiratory symptoms, please call ahead or take advantage of our telehealth application: MedStar eVisit. Please do not go directly to your doctor’s office without calling first, since many can isolate at home without being evaluated in person.

To protect our patients and care teams, we are postponing all elective procedures: Please click here for more details, and non-urgent office visits: Please click here for more details.


What is COVID-19?

What should I do if I experience symptoms? Will I need to be quarantined? Glenn Wortmann, MD, section director of Infectious Diseases at MedStar Washington Hospital Center and the medical director of Infection Prevention at the MedStar Institute of Quality and Safety, answers these and other commonly asked questions about COVID-19.

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Symptoms: What You Should Do

MedStar Health Coronavirus Symptoms Infographics

What should you do if you are experiencing symptoms of a respiratory illness (cough, fever and shortness of breath)?

While influenza and other viral syndromes are still more likely, there are steps you should take now that COVID-19 has been detected in our community.
 

 

Please consider the following actions:
 
Severe illness: If you are experiencing a medical emergency (such as severe shortness of breath, chest pain or altered mental status), please call 911 and request an ambulance.
 
Moderate or mild illness: In an effort to protect you, our care teams, and the general public we encourage you to utilize telemedicine to help screen and treat your illness.
 
We have clinicians available 24/7 through MedStar eVisit, our virtual urgent care platform. Enroll at MedStar-eVisit.com or download the free iOS or Android mobile app, MedStar eVisit, from the App Store.

MedStar eVisit site

 
If you are experiencing mild or moderate symptoms, and do not wish to utilize MedStar eVisit, please do not go directly to your doctor’s office or emergency department without calling first. A phone call allows our team to determine the best location for you to be evaluated. In some cases this phone call may allow you to avoid an in-person evaluation, which helps minimize exposure to the public from those with less severe symptoms. If you choose to visit a clinic without calling, please utilize one of our 14 urgent care centers and place a mask on your face covering your nose and mouth as soon as you arrive to the clinic.
 
If you have an existing routine appointment in one of our outpatient offices, and you have respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, you should call your physician office prior to the appointment to discuss how your care will best be served.

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Prevention

MedStar Health Coronavirus Prevention Infographics

 

Stop the Spread of Germs

We provide our patients with alcohol-based hand sanitizer in the reception area as well as throughout each clinic. In addition, every member of our team performs hand hygiene protocols before, during, and after all appointments and procedures (e.g., hand washing with antimicrobial soap and water, alcohol-based hand rub, or antiseptic hand wash). We wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when caring for patients with symptoms and we ask that sick patients wear a mask to protect other patients around them. We also disinfect exam rooms between each patient.

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Frequently Asked Questions

MedStar Health Patient Care and Visitor Policy
A:
  • Non-urgent outpatient appointments of any kind (including check-ups and other routine visits) will be postponed.
  • Urgent appointments will continue to be held. These will either be a MedStar eVisit, over the phone, or in person based on your specific care needs.
  • If you are unsure of what to do, please call your doctor’s office. Your provider or a clinician covering for him/her can discuss your condition on the telephone and give you advice in care or where you should be seen.
  • If you are unable to reach your physician, you can always seek medical care via MedStar eVisit or, in the case of an emergency, go to one of our urgent care offices or emergency rooms throughout the region.
If you have any concerns, please contact your care team via phone or via the patient portal (www.mymedstar.org).
A: MedStar Health is committed to delivering the highest quality and safe care for our patients during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As we all experience this together, we are also committed to the safety of our physicians, nurses and associates. The community spread of COVID-19 requires that we take unprecedented measures to ensure these goals. With these important priorities in mind, starting Thursday, March 19 we are postponing all elective procedures and surgeries across MedStar Health. This decision was made after thoughtful consideration and planning, balancing how we best use our resources to meet the needs of our patients while mitigating risk to our patients, associates and families. Our department leaders and our physicians will make case-by-case decisions using the specific clinical circumstances of each of our patients. We will be reaching out to our patients in the event their care will be affected.
A: Effective Monday, March 23, we are transitioning most of our physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech language pathology to Video Visits in combination with our home exercise program patient portal to further progress your care. We will continue to provide in-person therapy for patients who need care that cannot be delivered by the telehealth platform. If in-person therapy is required, we will contact you prior to each appointment to ensure you are feeling well. As always, if you have any questions, please reach out to your therapy office to clarify your personal care plan.
General COVID-19 Information
A: COVID-19 is a disease caused by a respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December 2019. COVID-19 is a new virus that hasn’t caused illness in humans before. Worldwide, COVID-19 has resulted in thousands of human infections, causing illness and in some cases, death. Cases have spread to countries throughout the world, with more cases reported daily. 
A: Currently, people are at risk who:
  • Recently traveled to any geographic area of concern
  • Have close, personal contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Care for people with COVID-19
A: COVID-19 is thought to be able to spread like the cold or flu through:
  • Coughing and sneezing, which creates respiratory droplets
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it
A: The vast majority of people recover from this infection. Most people will have mild or moderate symptoms. Some people may be advised to recover at home and isolate themselves from others. These individuals should call their physicians or health care practitioners if their symptoms get worse. Some COVID-19 infections can lead to serious illness, and in some cases death. If someone develops a more serious illness from COVID-19, they may be admitted to the hospital. Older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions have a greater risk for serious illness. Examples of pre-existing conditions are: cancer, diabetes, heart disease, underlying lung disease, or other conditions impacting the ability of the body’s immune system to fight germs.
A: Not yet, because COVID-19 is a new disease. However, many experts are at work developing one. As with any new vaccine, it must be tested to make certain it is safe and effective. It may take more than a year for a COVID-19 vaccine to become readily available. There also is no specific medicine currently available to cure COVID-19. However, people who have COVID-19 should seek medical care to help lessen the severity of their symptoms.
Symptoms and Testing Information
Life and Travel Recommendations

 

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Resources

Tips to Stay Active at Home During COVID-19

Information on Being Active During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Coronavirus (COVID-19): What You Need to Know

 

 

MedStar Health’s infectious disease and incident preparedness experts are closely monitoring developments and coordinating with national and local health authorities, and we will update this information as the situation evolves.

Updated March 25, 2020, 7:30 p.m.

 

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