Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center

Stay updated on COVID-19 and what's happening at MultiCare

What is COVID-19? What do I do if I have symptoms? What is MultiCare doing to address COVID-19 in our region? Our COVID-19 resource center answers those questions and more.

Visitor restrictions

To protect our patients, staff and community, we are restricting and screening visitors at our hospitals and clinics.

Learn about our visitor policy

What to do if you have symptoms

Online assessment

If you aren’t sure if you need to be evaluated for COVID-19, try our free screening tool. It will help you find out your risk level, based on your symptoms, and will recommend your next steps for care, if you need it.

I have symptoms

Indigo Online Care

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, please use our E-Visit service. If you do not have symptoms or exposure to COVID-19 but need a test for travel, work or other reasons, please select Video Visit.

Start a virtual visit

Get care

If you’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19, follow your provider’s guidance for treatment and recovery and let them know if your symptoms get worse. Call 911 or go to the emergency room right away if your symptoms are life-threatening.

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Information about novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

As we’ve learned more about COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, the symptoms that may indicate that someone is sick with COVID-19 has evolved.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), people with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Cough
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Fever or chills
  • Headache
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Sore throat

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel sick.

This list is not all inclusive. You should contact your doctor if you have other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention right away.

How does COVID-19 spread?

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

It may also be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. It is important to wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face in public and clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading easily and sustainably in the community. Typically, people are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest). Spread without having symptoms (asymptomatic spread) can occur, however, and appears to be a major way this particular disease is spread in our communities. Because it is difficult to know when someone may be contagious, masking in public and social distancing measures have been shown to be an effective way to decrease the risk of spreading or getting sick with COVID-19.

How severe is COVID-19?

Illness due to COVID-19 infection is generally mild, especially for children and young adults. Some people who contract it need hospital care. It is therefore quite normal for people to worry about how the COVID-19 outbreak will affect them and their loved ones.

Most coronavirus illnesses are mild with fever and cough. The vast majority of people with COVID-19 do not require hospital care. A much smaller percentage of people get severely ill with lung and breathing problems like pneumonia. People over the age of 60 and people with underlying medical conditions are at highest risk.

Who is at risk of developing severe illness?

People at high risk for complications from COVID-19 are:

  • People older than 60 years of age
  • People with chronic medical conditions
  • People with compromised immune systems
  • Those who are pregnant

People at higher risk for COVID-19

Some people seem to be at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. This includes older adults and people with weakened immune systems or chronic health conditions, such as those with heart disease, lung disease or diabetes. People who have had a transplant are also at higher risk. Follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on how to protect yourself and your family.

Visit CDC Website

Visiting MultiCare

What is the difference between social distancing, quarantine and isolation?

Social distancing, also called physical distancing, is one of the best ways to slow the spread of COVID-19. It can help keep sick people from coming in contact with healthy ones and so limit the number of people who are exposed to, or get sick with, a contagious illness. The CDC recommends avoiding large gatherings and crowds. You should also maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from others.

Quarantine in general means separating a person or people who may have a contagious disease, but aren’t showing symptoms yet, from other people who have not been so exposed. This can help prevent more people from getting sick because sometimes a person can pass an illness on to others even before they become sick. With COVID-19, the CDC has recommended a 14-day period of quarantine to monitor for symptoms.

Isolation refers to separating a person or people who probably or definitely have a contagious disease from people who are not sick. Isolation may be voluntary or compelled by governmental or public health authorities.

I have an appointment or service scheduled at a MultiCare hospital or clinic. Should I cancel it?

If you have an appointment or service scheduled with us, you should plan to keep it, unless you hear otherwise from your doctor’s office.

On May 20, 2020, Governor Jay Inslee issued an updated proclamation about safely expanding non-urgent medical procedures and services. Based on the guidance in the proclamation, hospitals and health care organizations may now provide a full range of care – emergency, urgent, elective and routine – as long as PPE and surge capacity requirements are met.

MultiCare meets, and will continue to meet, those requirements, and we have resumed in-person care as well as surgical procedures. Many MultiCare providers are now performing virtual visits, and will continue to do so. So you may be able to be seen by your own provider without needing to come into the clinic.

If you have symptoms you think might be due to COVID-19, please stay home, limit your exposure to other people and monitor symptoms. MultiCare’s Virtual Visit service can assess you and refer you for additional care if needed, or you can call your regular doctor for guidance.

Will my surgical procedure proceed as planned?

Following guidance from the CDC, and in line with Governor Jay Inslee’s order, MultiCare postponed non-emergent surgeries for a number of weeks.

On May 20, 2020, Governor Inslee issued an updated proclamation about safely expanding non-urgent medical procedures and services. Based on the guidance in the proclamation, hospitals and health care organizations may now provide a full range of care – emergency, urgent, elective and routine – as long as PPE and surge capacity requirements are met.

MultiCare meets, and will continue to meet, those requirements, and we have resumed in-person care as well as surgical procedures. Many MultiCare providers are now performing virtual visits, and will continue to do so. So you may be able to be seen by your own provider without needing to come into the clinic.

Is it safe for me or my loved one to receive care at a MultiCare hospital?

We continue to care for our patients using the highest safety and quality standards, using recommendations made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). While COVID-19 is new to our community, caring for patients with serious illnesses is not. Every day, MultiCare routinely cares for patients with serious illnesses, including contagious diseases, while protecting the health of our other patients.

Patients with serious infections are isolated and cared for in appropriate spaces by trained staff. We follow best practices and strict safety and quality guidelines. We are equipped to care for these patients while protecting the health of others — including laboring mothers, babies and families and our staff.

If you or a loved one is seriously ill or injured, please do not let fear of COVID-19 keep you from getting the care you need.

I have a loved one currently receiving care at a MultiCare hospital. Is it safe to visit them?

MultiCare has made some changes to our visitation policies because of the current COVID-19 situation. We may need to further revise those policies as time goes on, so please review our COVID-19 Visitor Policy to get the most up-to-date information.

We know it can be difficult to not have have access to friends and loved ones while you are in the hospital. Phone calls and video chats can be one way to stay connected while you or your loved one is in the hospital.

Should I wear a mask when coming to a MultiCare hospital or clinic?

All patients, visitors and caregivers/support people are required to wear a mask at all MultiCare facilities. This includes our hospitals and all our outpatient clinics. We will provide masks to those arriving without them.

As of Friday, June 26, a statewide order requires individuals to wear a face covering in indoor public spaces such as stores, offices and restaurants. The order also requires face coverings outdoors when you can’t stay six feet apart from others. Some exemptions may be allowed for those with certain medical conditions. Children under 2 should not wear a mask. You can read the details of the order on the Washington Coronavirus Response website.

Is MultiCare still scheduling classes?

Many MultiCare classes have resumed, although most are now being held virtually. Our Classes & Events Calendar has the most current information on what classes are available.

 

What is MultiCare doing to ensure the safety of staff?

In the early weeks of the COVID-19 outbreak, the virus’ spread in China and other parts of the world created a global shortage of the personal protective equipment (PPE) that all health care systems use to keep its patients and employees safe. MultiCare’s Supply Chain and Materials Management teams did heroic work to acquire this equipment during that shortage.

Conservation measures were put into place for a time, to ensure we had enough PPE for all patients and staff. Currently, we are fully stocked with all necessary PPE and have been able to return to our normal use and disposal practices for PPE supplies.

All MultiCare employees in both the Puget Sounds and Inland Northwest regions have had the appropriate PPE they needed at all times to do their jobs safely.

How many people with COVID-19 are in our communities?

The number of people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 changes daily. Please check with the Washington State Department of Health and your local department of health for the latest data on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in your area.

For local information visit:

Puget Sound

Inland Northwest

Testing and treatment

Who is tested for COVID-19?

While COVID-19 tests have become more widely available, a doctor’s referral is still required in order to be tested for the virus at MultiCare, and not everyone needs to be tested. MultiCare follows evidence-based guidelines for testing based on the CDC and other sources. A call to your provider, urgent care facility or Indigo Online Care services would be the first step to begin evaluating your symptoms. From there, we work with commercial, state and in-house labs to facilitate the testing.

If you are sick with fever, cough or shortness of breath and are in a high-risk group, call your health care provider right away to discuss whether you should be tested for COVID-19.

People at high risk for complications from COVID-19 are:

  • People older than 60
  • People with chronic medical conditions
  • People with compromised immune systems
  • Those who are pregnant

If you are having difficulty breathing or a life-threatening emergency, please call 911 or visit the nearest emergency department right away.

Should I get tested for COVID-19?

While COVID-19 tests have become more widely available, a doctor’s referral is still currently still required to be tested for the virus at MultiCare. If you have upper respiratory symptoms — cough, fever or shortness of breath and believe you need to be evaluated for COVID-19 — please call your provider. They will tell you if they think you need a COVID-19 test. If you do not have a provider, you may contact an urgent care clinic or use our Indigo Online Care E-Visit service for guidance on whether you need to be tested.

How do I access my COVID-19 test results?

There are two ways you can request copies of your COVID-19 Test Results:

  1. MyChart is MultiCare’s secure, web-based patient information portal. You can log in online from the MyChart home page, or use the MyChart mobile app, to review information from your medical record.
  2. If you are unable to access MyChart, complete a release form or write a signed and dated letter specifying what is to be released and to whom. Instructions on how to complete the form are included in the link above. You can email your completed release form or letter to [email protected] We will then process your request and securely email your results to the email we received your request from or to the email address indicated on the release form. It may take up to one business day to process your request.

What is the treatment for COVID-19?

To date, there is no vaccine and no specific medicine to prevent or treat COVID-19. However, those affected should receive care to relieve symptoms. People with serious illness should be hospitalized. Most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home.

The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to wear a face covering in public, frequently clean your hands, cover your cough with the bend of elbow, and maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from people who are not part of your household, especially anyone who is coughing or sneezing. (See basic protective measures against the new coronavirus).

Can I get a COVID-19 antibody test at MultiCare?

MultiCare is able to provide antibody testing for COVID-19, if the test is ordered by a provider. Individuals are not able to request this test on their own. The test detects the presence or absence of IgG antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the type of coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 illness.

Antibody testing has been a popular topic in the news media recently and we know that many people are interested in having this test done.

However, since much is still unknown about the novel coronavirus, it is unclear that an antibody test will provide individuals with any useful information at this time. This is due to a number of factors:

  • We don’t yet know if a person who tests positive for antibodies is immune to the illness.
  • The presence of antibodies does not mean that you are no longer sick or contagious.
  • We don’t yet know how long a person exposed to the virus will produce antibodies.
  • The presence of antibodies for other kinds of coronaviruses may generate a false positive result for antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19.

What this means is that right now antibody testing for COVID-19 is primarily useful for ongoing research studies about the novel coronavirus and the spread of COVID-19. It is unlikely to provide you with any actionable information about your health.

Your provider can discuss antibody testing with you in more detail and together you can decide if this is a test that you should take.

What is a self-quarantine and why is it used?

Quarantine is put into place to prevent the possible spread of an infectious disease from someone who may have been exposed to the disease but is not yet sick. When people are quarantined, they are kept separate from others until they are out of the period when they could get sick. During that time, health officials track their health so that if they do develop symptoms, they can get them to a health care provider quickly for evaluation, testing if needed, and care.

When people are in self-quarantine, they have no symptoms, but because there is a possibility that they might have been exposed, they stay away from others in public settings. For 14 days from their last possible exposure, people in self-quarantine cannot go to work, school, or any public places where they could have close contact with others. In some cases, public health departments direct them in how to monitor their health so that should they develop symptoms, they can be quickly and safely isolated from all others, including those in their household. Anyone can decide to self-quarantine. They do not have to be directed to do so by the health department or other health authorities.

Will I be billed for COVID-19 treatment?

The MultiCare price for a COVID-19 diagnostic lab test is $300. Uninsured patients are eligible for a 60 percent discount resulting in a cash pay price of $120.

Many insurance plans have agreed to waive patient balances related to COVID-19. Because each insurance company varies slightly in its implementation, MultiCare does not have the information necessary to accurately answer questions about bills patients may have received for COVID-19 care. If you’ve received such a bill, please contact your insurance company if you have questions about how your bill was processed.

If you have received a statement for services related to COVID-19 and are uninsured or would like information regarding financial aid, please contact our Patient Financial Experience team at 800-919-1936.

How to protect yourself & your family

How do I keep myself and my family safe?

Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak. You can reduce your chances of being infected or spreading COVID-19 by taking some simple precautions:

  • Wear a mask when you are in public.
    Why? The CDC recommends that you wear masks in public settings around people who don’t live in your household and when you can’t stay 6 feet away from others. Masks help stop the spread of COVID-19 to others. As of Friday, June 26, a statewide order requires individuals in Washington state to wear a face covering in indoor public spaces such as stores, offices and restaurants. The order also requires face coverings outdoors when you can’t stay six feet apart from others. Exemptions are allowed for those with certain medical conditions and children under 5. You can read the details of the order on the Washington Coronavirus Response website.
  • Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
    Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
  • Maintain at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and anyone outside of your household, especially anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
    Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
    Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
  • Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow when you cough or sneeze. Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough or difficulty breathing, or these other symptoms, seek medical attention and call in advance. Why? Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks.
  • Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow advice given by your health care provider and your national and local public health authority on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

Should I wear a mask?

The CDC recommends that you wear masks in public settings around people who don’t live in your household and when you can’t stay 6 feet away from others.

As of Friday, June 26, a statewide order requires individuals in Washington state to wear a face covering in indoor public spaces such as stores, offices and restaurants. The order also requires face coverings outdoors when you can’t stay six feet apart from others. Exemptions are allowed for those with certain medical conditions and children under 5. You can read the details of the order on the Washington Coronavirus Reponse website.

You should definitely wear a mask if you are ill with COVID-19 symptoms (especially coughing) or caring for someone who has or may have COVID-19.

The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to wear a mask in public, frequently clean your hands, cover your cough with the bend of your elbow and maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from other people.

We are asking that patients and visitors coming to any MultiCare facilities wear a mask. We strongly encourage all patients and visitors to wear their own masks to our facilities for use during their visit. We will provide masks to those arriving without them.

How do I talk with my kids about COVID-19?

Knowing important information about the outbreak and learning how to be prepared can reduce your stress and help calm likely anxieties.

View the Helping Children Cope guide, which includes reactions according to age group and the best ways you can respond.

If you or a loved one is having a difficult time coping with the outbreak and want to seek outside help, there are ways to get that help. For example:

  • Get support regarding your anxiety or stress by speaking to a trained counselor at SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990 or by texting TalkWithUS 66746
  • Contact your health care provider to ask health-related questions or seek mental health support.

What if I don't have health insurance?

Free or low-cost Apple Health is available year-round through the Washington Healthplanfinder for those who qualify, and a Special Enrollment is available if you have certain life changes, including loss of health insurance coverage due to job loss.

If you are a MultiCare patient, our Patient Financial Navigators (PFNs) can help you determine your eligibility for over available 20 insurance and financial assistance programs. Call us at 833-936-0515, or visit our Financial Assistance web page, to find out more.

COVID-19 research at MultiCare

MultiCare’s Institute for Research & Innovation’s physician-researchers at all MultiCare hospitals in the Puget Sound and Inland Northwest regions are offering multiple clinical trials for COVID-19. To learn more about MultiCare’s COVID-19 research activities and/or identify a clinical trial, please visit the Research Institute’s website.

Ways to Help

  • Join the Hope Grows Here community project

    While staying home and staying healthy, you can provide much-needed support and encouragement to your community through art and acts of service. Build a window garden, share words of gratitude, sign up for a volunteer-at-home opportunity and more.

  • Convalescent plasma donations

    Convalescent plasma is being evaluated for effectiveness against COVID-19.  With no vaccines or proven, effective drugs against this disease, convalescent plasma may be effective treatment for patients battling the disease. If you were diagnosed with COVID-19 and have recovered, please consider donating plasma.

    Cascade Regional Blood Services is currently collecting COVID-19 convalescent plasma for MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital, MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital, MultiCare Allenmore Hospital, and MultiCare Auburn Medical Center. Vitalant is collecting plasma for MultiCare’s Inland Northwest Region patients.

  • Blood donations

    Many blood banks have seen drops in their normal donations this year and are actively seeking donations. MultiCare does not have any donation sites at our facilities. For a list of sites where you can donate blood, please visit the Red Cross website.

Donate to the MultiCare COVID-19 Response Fund

MultiCare has established a COVID-19 Response Fund to honor and support health care workers, provide access to care and address emergent needs as this extraordinary health crisis continues.

Make your gift today