Last Updated: Mar 27, 2020 10:29am
We know many of you have questions and concerns about novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in your community, so we created this page to share facts and information.
Illness due to COVID-19 infection is generally mild, especially for children and young adults. However, it can cause serious illness, so it is important to be informed about how to protect yourself and others.
If you have upper respiratory symptoms (cough, fever or shortness of breath) and believe you need to be evaluated for COVID-19 – please call first before visiting a hospital, clinic or urgent care to determine if you need to visit a specific site for testing.
MultiCare is currently offering free e-visits to anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms through MultiCare Virtual Care, where our providers will also help you navigate to the next appropriate step. Use promo code “COVID19” at the payment page to unlock the free e-visit after completing our protocol. Feeling sick, but not sure if you should go to the doctor? Use our assessment tool on this page to help you decide if you need to be seen.
In order to help keep our patients, employees and visitors safe, MultiCare has implemented a number of visitor restrictions at all our hospitals and clinics.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. About one in every five people who contract it need hospital care. 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.
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
It may 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 disinfectfrequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
Illness due to COVID-19 infection is generally mild, especially for children and young adults. About one in every five 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.
CDC recommends that older adults or those who have certain medical conditions consider postponing travel. More travel information.
Illness due to COVID-19 is generally mild, especially for children and young adults. The vast majority of people with COVID-19 infection do not require hospital care. A much smaller percentage of people get severely ill with lung and breathing problems like pneumonia.
People at high risk for complications from COVID-19 are:
The CDC recommends that older adults or those who have certain medical conditions consider postponing travel. More travel information.
Social 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, and maintaining a distance of approximately 3-6 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 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.
At this time, MOST or SOME appointments will continue as scheduled. Should there be any changes to your appointment or a different recommendation from your care provider, we will notify you as soon as possible.
If you need to cancel an appointment, please contact your provider’s office directly.
If you’re experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, please stay home, limit your exposure to other people and monitor symptoms. If symptoms progress, please call ahead before visiting any doctor’s office or clinic.
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). 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.
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 visit our Visitor Restriction information tabs on this page 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.
Classes scheduled at MultiCare are being evaluated on a case-by-case basis. If a class you’ve registered for is canceled, you will be contacted.
We have been preparing for the presence of COVID-19 for months and our teams are ready to safely deliver care. Our facilities are open, and previously scheduled medical appointments are continuing unless otherwise noted from your care provider.
We’re grateful for the staff at all of our hospitals and clinics, who have been working tirelessly to provide the best care possible while following MultiCare’s guidelines derived from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
MultiCare’s commitment to the safety of every staff member within our health system is unwavering. We will take care of patients with COVID-19 following all the appropriate safety policies. That includes following the World Health Organization (WHO) evidence-based guidelines for personal protective equipment. The WHO guidelines have been endorsed by the Washington State Department of Health and local health departments.
As the situation in Washington continues to rapidly evolve, please check with the Washington State Department of Health and your local department of health for the latest information and alerts.
For local information visit:
MultiCare follows evidence-based guidelines for testing based on the CDC and other sources. A call to your provider, urgent care facility or MultiCare Virtual Care services would be the first step to begin evaluation of your symptoms. From there, we work with both commercial and state labs to facilitate the testing.
If you are having difficulty breathing or a life-threatening emergency, please call 911 or visit the nearest emergency department.
If you have upper respiratory symptoms – cough, fever or shortness of breath and believe you need to be evaluated for COVID-19 – please call first before a clinic or urgent care visit to determine if you need to visit a specific site for testing.
Additionally, MultiCare is currently offering free e-visits to anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms through MultiCare Virtual Care, where our providers will also help you navigate to the next appropriate step, if testing for COVID-19 is warranted. Use promo code “COVID19” at the payment page to unlock the free e-visit after completing our protocol.
Not everyone needs to be tested for COVID-19. If you are sick with fever, cough or shortness of breath and in a high-risk group, call your health care provider to discuss whether you should be tested for COVID-19.
People at high risk for complications from COVID-19 are:
To date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral 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 frequently clean your hands, cover your cough with the bend of elbow or tissue, and maintain a distance of at least 3-6 feet from people who are coughing or sneezing. (See basic protective measures against the new coronavirus).
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. 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.
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:
You should only wear a mask if you are ill with COVID-19 symptoms (especially coughing) or caring for someone who may have COVID-19.
The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to frequently clean your hands, cover your cough with the bend of elbow or tissue and maintain a distance of at least 3-6 feet from people who are coughing or sneezing.
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:
Due to the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in our state, the Washington Healthplanfinder is offering a limited 30-day special enrollment period (SEP) for qualified people who currently do not have insurance. This SEP runs through April 8, 2020.
There are plenty of actions you can take to help MultiCare’s COVID-19 response efforts and make a difference.
MultiCare is looking for volunteers who can support our COVID-19 response efforts from the safety of your home. Visit the COVID-19 Volunteer Team page to learn more.
If people have unopened boxes of masks, gloves or gowns that they would like to donate they can drop them off between (11am -2pm) Monday through Friday at the hospital loading docks listed at the bottom of this release, where a volunteer coordinator will meet people and receive donations. Specifications of all donated products will be evaluated, and they will then be allocated accordingly. If opened containers of PPE are donated, these products will be placed through a cleaning process before distributed for use. Learn more about donating PPE.
Thanks to our generous community, we currently have a good stock of homemade masks and do not require any more at this time. Our need for masks may change in the future and we will reach out if that's the case.
We are grateful for donations of individually wrapped, commercially prepared food (e.g., granola bars) to provide snacks to our hard-working staff. Donations of food are gladly accepted from (11am-2pm, Monday-Friday) at the hospital loading docks noted below. If we receive more than can be used, we will donate extra food to the local food bank. If you would like to donate food directly to your local food bank, we suggest reaching out to them to find out their current needs. Please schedule food donations with Theresa Lerma, MultiCare Volunteer Services Coordinator, at [email protected]
Our local blood banks are running low and would appreciate your most precious donation, your blood. MultiCare does not have any donation sites at our facilities. For a list of sites where you can donate blood, please visit https://www.redcross.org/give-blood.html.
MultiCare has established a COVID-19 Response Fund to honor and support caregivers, provide access to care and address emergent needs as this extraordinary health crisis continues. Make your gift today.
Our care teams are working hard to keep everyone safe. A kind word of encouragement makes a difference. Email your message to [email protected].
Refer to the MultiCare COVID-19 Resource Center for updates and resources and share the information with your friends, family and network.
Want to stay on top of COVID-19 information, as well as other health and wellness-related topics? MultiCare’s Healthy Living email newsletter to will help you separate fact from fiction and be better informed when making important decisions about your health. Subscribe today and have wellness tips, healthy recipes and important health news delivered directly to your inbox each month.
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