Coronavirus (COVID-19) Advisory | Adventist HealthCare | Maryland

Published on April 08, 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Advisory

As more attention turns to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak globally and here in the United States, we want to assure you that Adventist HealthCare is prepared. As we work with local and state health officials, we will keep you updated.

What is Adventist HealthCare Doing to Prepare?

Adventist HealthCare has a team of experts across our system that continue to prepare our employees and facilities to provide care during this time. Our processes are based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Adventist HealthCare continues to work with county and state public health officials on the latest plans to address the needs in our community.

Some examples of our preparedness efforts include:

  • Implementing visitor restrictions
  • Continued screening of patients and visitors for symptoms related to COVID-19
  • Assessing and postponing any elective and non-emergent procedures
  • Performing additional training and exercises to help our caregivers safely and efficiently take care of patients
  • Erecting emergency tents at our facilities to help with the triage of patients

Please remember that if you start to develop symptoms, to first call your primary care doctor or an Adventist HealthCare Urgent Care near you to determine next steps. These tents will allow for more capacity and will be used to triage any patients coming to the Emergency Departments. Testing will not be performed in the tent or hospital; patients with symptoms who meet appropriate criteria for hospitalization may get testing. Setting up tents and other activities are additional steps our hospitals are taking to prepare for a potential influx of patients and to provide safe and efficient care to our community.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is COVID-19 and what are the symptoms?

According to the CDC, Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person.

COVID-19 Symptoms

Symptoms of COVID-19 can be mild to severe and include:

  • Respiratory illness with fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Most cases are mild and can be managed at home. More severe symptoms have been reported mostly in the elderly and those with suppressed immune systems.

Where can I get testing?

If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and are experiencing symptoms, please call your primary care doctor or an Adventist HealthCare Urgent Care near you.

Symptoms to watch for are fever, cough and shortness of breath. Keep in mind, based on a screening using CDC guidelines by your healthcare provider, testing may not be performed. Remember, most cases are mild and can be managed at home. If you start to develop more severe symptoms, call your doctor right away.

Adventist HealthCare Facilities Are NOT Community Testing Sites

Our hospitals only have COVID-19 testing for critically ill patients who are likely to need hospitalization. This policy aligns with guidance from the CDC and the state of Maryland. We are supportive of work by our local and state officials to create community testing sites that will preserve our Emergency Departments resources for those with injuries or illnesses requiring hospital-based care.

COVID-19 Community Testing Site Information (Maryland)

Am I at risk?

As the situation changes and more cases in the community are identified, please stay up-to-date by visiting the CDC website. To limit the spread of COVID-19, continue to practice good health hygiene by washing your hands often; avoid touching your face, eyes and mouth; cleaning common surfaces; and sneezing into your elbow, not your hand. As the virus spreads in the community, you can also limit your risk of exposure by avoiding large gatherings and close contact with others, especially if you are at higher risk of more severe illness. Those at higher risk of severe symptoms include older adults and those with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart and lung disease.

What can I do to prepare?

Due to the ever-changing situation related to COVID-19, here are some tips to help you stay ahead of any illness or change in routine or schedule.

  • Plan meals in advance and keep your pantry stocked
  • Talk with your employer about telework options, sick leave policies and any other resources that can support you while caring for a family member or yourself
  • Watch for information from your child’s school or daycare
  • Check in with any family members who live alone so they have a support system in place
  • Identify a family member or friend that can help you, if needed For more tips on preparing yourself and your family, visit Ready.gov.

How can I keep my family healthy?

This is a good time to reinforce good health hygiene habits that help to prevent the spread of illnesses and other viruses like COVID-19. Remind your family and friends to:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Clean common surfaces such as door knobs, counters, bathroom fixtures, phones and tablets
  • Sneeze or cough into your elbow, NOT your hand
  • If there are cases in your community, limit exposure by avoiding large gatherings and close contact with others, especially if you are at higher risk of more severe illness. Those at higher risk of severe symptoms include older adults and those with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart and lung disease.

How can I take care of myself and my family?

We understand that news about COVID-19 can cause fear and anxiety for many people in our community. Self-care can help with your resilience – your ability to deal with and recover from stress. Here are some tips on how to cope with any stress you may be feeling that can improve your overall health:

  • Avoid excessive media coverage, and instead refer to the CDC or local and state health agencies for reliable, accurate information
  • Eat healthy, well-balanced meals
  • Exercise regularly
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Talk with your family and friends about how you’re feeling
  • Stay positive and reassure your children that they are safe

I’m concerned about exposure to COVID-19, what do I need to know?

Exposure to COVID-19 means you have been in close contact with someone who is sick. Close contact includes:

  • Living in the same household as someone who is sick with COVID-19
  • Caring for a sick person with COVID-19
  • Being within 6 feet of a sick person with COVID-19 for about 10 minutes
  • Being in direct contact with secretions from someone who is sick with COVID-19 (e.g., being coughed on, kissing, sharing utensils, etc.)

If you have not been in close contact with a sick person with COVID-19, you are at low risk for infection, but as more in the community develop the infection, the risk of exposure increases. That’s why it’s important for everyone to continue practicing social distancing and staying at home to limit the spread.

What should I do if I start to develop symptoms?

If you think you have been exposed and begin to develop symptoms of respiratory illness:

  • Call your primary care physician or an Adventist HealthCare Urgent Care. Your healthcare provider can help determine the next steps for your case
  • Stay home except for medical care
  • Limit contact with others in your home, including pets
  • Practice good health hygiene including frequent hand washing, cleaning common surfaces, and covering your coughs and sneezes with your elbow- NOT your hands

Most cases of COVID-19 do not require a trip to the emergency department or hospitalization. Hospital care is a resource that should be reserved for those with the most serious symptoms. If your symptoms worsen to high fever and difficulty breathing, call your doctor or a healthcare facility right away, before you go. This can help the healthcare provider prepare for your arrival and take steps to protect others in the community, including healthcare workers.

For more information about what to do if you are sick, visit the CDC website.

If I’m exposed, how long should I stay at home

If you become ill with COVID-19, you should stay at home until:

  • If you had a fever, three days after the fever ends AND you see an improvement in your initial symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath)
  • If you did not have a fever, three days after you see an improvement in your initial symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath)
  • Seven days after symptom onset, whichever is longer

I’m not sick, but I was around someone that was. What should I do?

You should monitor yourself for fever, cough and shortness of breath for 14 days after the last day you were in close contact with the sick person. You should avoid public places for 14 days.

What should I do if I was exposed to someone with known COVID-19 and am having symptoms?

If you are suffering from the symptoms listed below, even if they are mild, you could have COVID-19:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Take precautions by:

  • Isolating yourself at home and away from others
  • Calling your doctor

Contact your healthcare provider if you have any of the conditions below that could increase your risk for a serious infection. They may want to monitor your health more closely:

  • 60 years or older
  • Pregnant
  • Underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, heart and lung disease

If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you may have been exposed to COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before emergency medical services arrive, or immediately after their arrival.

I’m having symptoms of COVID-19 but haven’t been exposed to someone with COVID-19, what should I do?

If you have a fever, cough or shortness of breath and have not been around someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, you should take the same precautions as you would if you have been around someone with the disease. You should avoid others until the fever is gone and symptoms have improved for 72 hours.

If I am pregnant, what should I do?

Check in with your doctor about ways you can protect yourself. We want to assure you that Adventist HealthCare is taking all necessary actions to ensure the safety of our patients, visitors and caregivers. Our employees and facilities are prepared and following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) regarding COVID-19. Please follow the visitor restriction policy to protect you and your loved ones. If you are pregnant, continue to follow good health hygiene habits:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Clean common surfaces such as door knobs, counters, bathroom fixtures, phones and tablets
  • Sneeze or cough into your elbow, NOT your hand
  • Avoid large gatherings, crowds and close contact with others

We recognize this is a difficult time for new moms. Here are some other tips to help you prepare for your stay at the hospital:

  • Prepare for your support person to stay the length of your visit. This will limit any back and forth and risk of exposure
  • Bring your car seat with you and keep in the car
  • If you have other children, plan for their care at home
  • Bring all needed items with you to the hospital such as nursing pillow, breastfeeding support items or other items you may need
  • Bring extra items for your support person such as clothes, etc.

What should I do if I am at higher risk of severe illness?

Those at higher risk of more severe illness due to COVID-19 are the elderly, those with a suppressed immune system or a chronic health condition such as diabetes, heart or lung disease. We encourage you to talk with your doctor about your risk and the steps you can take to protect yourself. Some extra steps to take now are:

  • Avoid large gatherings, crowds and close contact with others
  • Practice good health hygiene by washing your hands often, cleaning common surfaces and limit touching your mouth, eyes and nose

If you start to develop symptoms and are at high risk of severe illness, call your doctor right away. Consider calling 9-1-1 if your symptoms are severe, especially difficulty breathing.

Is my elective surgery being postponed?

The health and safety of our patients and caregivers is our top priority during this unprecedented time. To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and following guidance from the CDC and state agencies, Adventist HealthCare has postponed elective, non-emergent procedures and surgeries. Our department leaders and physicians will make case-by-case decisions about each specific case based on the needs of our patients.

Please reach out to your physician/surgeon if you have any questions.

What do I do if need to see a doctor for a non-COVID-19 issue?

We want to assure you that Adventist HealthCare is here for all your medical conditions. You may be managing a chronic health condition such as diabetes or heart disease or have a new medical issue that requires care.

Here are some tips to help ensure you get the right care when you need it:

  • For managing chronic health conditions, stay in touch with your doctor. Many doctors are offering telehealth so you can see your doctor right from home.
  • For minor illnesses, call your primary care doctor or visit an urgent care center. Adventist HealthCare Urgent Care is offering telehealth appointments. Remember to call ahead if you need to go in. This will help prepare them for your arrival to ensure your safety.
  • If you need emergency care, call your doctor or the closest emergency department to let them know you are coming. This will help prepare them for your arrival to ensure your safety. They can also let you know about any visitor restrictions or information to help guide you when you arrive.
  • If you need a prescription, either for a new medication or your regular medication, call ahead to the pharmacy to check their hours and if they have a drive through or are offering curb side service.

What are the plans for the Takoma Park campus?

Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center has been working closely with the State of Maryland to coordinate surge capacity to care for COVID-19 patients. This plan includes expanding capacity at both the hospital in White Oak and at the Takoma Park campus of the former Washington Adventist Hospital.

Where can I go with additional questions?

If you have general questions or concerns about coronavirus, the following local government hotlines can provide you with updated information:

  • Montgomery County: Call 3-1-1 from within the County.
  • Prince George’s County: Call 301-883-6627.
  • Washington, D.C.: Call 3-1-1 from within the District.

The most up-to-date news and guidance can be found at CDC.gov.

For checklists to prepare yourself and your home, visit Ready.gov.

REMEMBER: If you have recent travel and/or exposure along with symptoms, please first call your doctor or healthcare provider.

Current Closures & Cancellations

ATTENTION: COVID-19 Visitor Restrictions

Effective March 16, 2020: COVID-19 Visitor Restrictions are now in effect.

CLOSED: In-person Outpatient Rehabilitation Therapy

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect our patients and staff, all Adventist HealthCare Rehabilitation outpatient clinics are canceling in-person outpatient rehabilitation therapy effective 5 p.m. on Monday, March 23. We are planning to offer telehealth therapy options and look forward to updating you when it is available.

We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your understanding. We are available to answer any questions at 240-864-6202.

HOURS OF OPERATION: Adventist HealthCare Imaging

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect our patients and staff, all Adventist HealthCare Imaging offices will modify their office hours, effective Monday, March 23. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your understanding. Your health and safety are our top priority and we want to assure you that we are taking all necessary actions to ensure the safety of our patients, visitors and caregivers. At this time, we have suspended Preventive Screening Services, including Cardiac Scoring, Dexa Scan, CT Lung Screenings and Screening Mammograms. Breast Imaging patients without symptoms and those with any scheduled screening appointments are being rescheduled. If you are experiencing new symptoms, a diagnostic mammogram can be scheduled. We will do our best to safely serve all your imaging needs during this time.

We are available to answer any questions at 301-590-8999.

CANCELLED: Community Classes & Events

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, all in-person health classes and community events have been cancelled until further notice. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your understanding.

CLOSED: Walk-in Bill Payments

For the safety of our community, we have suspended in-person billing assistance at our facilities and will not accept walk-ins during this time.

Financial Assistance

As COVID-19 continues to impact our community, we understand some of our patients may be affected by this global event. If you've been impacted by COVID-19 and need help paying for services provided by Adventist HealthCare, we're here for you. Please contact our Patient Financial Services department at 301-315-3660, if you have any billing questions or concerns.

CLOSED: The Lourie Center - School

Following Governor Hogan’s guidance and the closing of Maryland schools, we will be closing our Lourie Center School, Therapeutic Nursery Program, and Head Start Program from March 16 through March 27.

CLOSED: The Lourie Center - Therapeutic Nursery Program

Following Governor Hogan’s guidance and the closing of Maryland schools, we will be closing our Lourie Center School, Therapeutic Nursery Program, and Head Start Program from March 16 through March 27.

CLOSED: The Lourie Center - Head Start Program

Following Governor Hogan’s guidance and the closing of Maryland schools, we will be closing our Lourie Center School, Therapeutic Nursery Program, and Head Start Program from March 16 through March 27.

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