There are many myths online. Here is some information to help you and your family learn more about coronavirus (COVID-19).April 6, 2020
How can we help you?
We are updating this page regularly with new information.
Getting medical care and testing for coronavirus (COVID-19)
If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency or difficulty breathing, go directly to the ER or dial 911.
I am feeling ok, but I am worried that I might have been exposed to coronavirus.
Are you worried that you may have been exposed to coronavirus (COVID-19)? Use our COVID-19 self-assessment tool as a first step to better understand possible symptoms. Take it online in just minutes or text COVID to 53901 for both English and Spanish.
Message and data rates may apply. Message frequency varies. Reply HELP for help. Reply STOP to opt out. For our mobile Terms of Service see ascension.org/TermsofUse. For our commitment to your privacy see ascension.org/PrivacyPolicy.
Stay home and monitor your symptoms daily. Try to avoid exposing others as much as possible. Learn more about coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms.
I have symptoms of coronavirus.
If you have a fever, cough or shortness of breath, and you don’t feel like your symptoms are life-threatening, we recommend that you stay home, rest, monitor your symptoms daily, and avoid exposing others. Use these options for care:
- Call your personal physician, if you have one -- ask if an online visit is available.
- Video chat with a physician 24/7 through Ascension Online Care without leaving home. Ascension is offering online urgent care visits (also called telehealth or telemedicine). No insurance is required. In the online urgent care visit, explain your symptoms and if it is something more, we'll advise you what to do next.
Please note, this type of Ascension Online Care visit will NOT result in an order for COVID-19 testing.
- If you are unable to use Ascension Online Care, please call your local 24/7 Ascension COVID-19 hotline. Our nurses and care teams have the most up-to-date screening information and can guide you to the best options for care and testing.
COVID-19 Toll-free helplines
- Alabama: 833-980-0690
- Central (Kansas and Oklahoma): 855-782-1039
- Florida: 833-981-0712
- Indiana: 833-981-0733
- Michigan: 833-981-0738
- Northeast (Maryland and New York): 833-980-0692
- Tennessee: 833-981-0626
- Texas: 833-919-1680
- Wisconsin: 833-981-0711
- National helpline: 833-978-0649
COVID-19 tests at Ascension facilities are only available following receipt of an order from a medical professional. COVID-19 test orders and doctor’s notes for missing work are not available through the toll-free helplines or Ascension Online Care. Please call your doctor to ask about testing and doctor’s notes for work.
I need a COVID-19 test.
COVID-19 tests at Ascension facilities are only available following receipt of an order from a medical professional. COVID-19 test orders are not available through the toll-free helplines or Ascension Online Care.
I am sick and I need a doctor’s note to miss work.
Doctor’s notes for missing work are not available through the toll-free helplines or Ascension Online Care. Please call your doctor to ask about a doctor’s note for missing work. You can also find a doctor or call the Ascension location near you to discuss the best option for your care.
I need to see a doctor for something else.
If you need to make a new appointment to see a doctor for something unrelated to the coronavirus (COVID-19), talk to your doctor and-- ask if a virtual visit is available. You can also find a doctor or call the Ascension location near you to discuss the best option for your care.
I am pregnant and not sure how coronavirus might affect me differently.
If you are feeling healthy, continue to monitor your health. Call your doctor if you have concerns about upcoming appointments. Continuing to go to your prenatal appointments is important. Your doctor and care team are there to support you and help answer your questions throughout your pregnancy.
Please be aware of your health and the health of those around you. If you or a loved one in your household has a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, please call your doctor right away or video chat with a doctor 24/7 through Ascension Online Care without leaving home. Explain your symptoms and if it is something more, we'll advise you what to do.
Ascension appreciates the challenging time we are all facing during this national emergency. We do not want you to worry about how you will pay for a COVID test should you need one. If you have health insurance coverage, the majority of health plans or issuers are waiving any patient responsibility in full. For those without healthcare insurance or eligibility for any government programs Ascension will not bill you for the COVID test. For any non-participating health plans or issuers our cash price for the COVID test is $125.00
Safety precautions at our facilities
We know you might have concerns about coming into a doctor’s office or hospital, but it’s still important to get the care you need, when you need it.
For your safety in our care, Ascension facilities—hospitals, emergency rooms, clinics and offices—are fully prepared and have implemented strict safety precautions to minimize the exposure risks related to coronavirus (COVID-19).
- Screening. All our associates are screened before they come to work, using screening tools designed to ensure they are healthy and symptom-free before entering our facilities or providing care.
- Cleaning and disinfecting. Our environmental services teams perform rigorous disinfecting measures at all our facilities.
- Visitor Restrictions. At the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we enacted visitor restrictions to protect our patients and staff. Please contact your local facility for information on the specific visitor guidelines.
- Appointment scheduling. We have staggered appointment times to reduce the number of patients with overlapping wait times.
- Waiting room distancing. We continue to practice social distancing within our facilities. When you arrive at a hospital, clinic or office, you will notice that waiting areas have fewer people and special instructions are posted for avoiding exposure.
- Offsite screening locations. We are asking patients who have signs of respiratory illness to call ahead. And we are directing them to specialty care sites set up specifically for them. These separate sites will decrease the risk of infection at our sites of care.
- Operating room procedures. We’re taking special care in an environment that already have many sterile precautions in place.
Ascension is making sure our hospitals and sites of care are safe and ready for you, when you need us. If you have questions or concerns, call the facility before you arrive for an appointment. You can also find a doctor or location near you to call and discuss the best option for your care. Ask about virtual visits.
Scheduling and attending appointments unrelated to coronavirus (COVID-19)
We are taking extra steps to keep patients who have appointments safe. If you have an upcoming appointment, and have a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, please call your doctor’s office to discuss the best option for your care before coming into an office or waiting room, including the option of rescheduling your appointment.
If you are scheduled for an elective surgery or procedure, please call your doctor’s office to confirm it is still taking place or if it needs to be rescheduled.
If you need to make a new appointment or to see a doctor for something unrelated to the coronavirus (COVID-19), talk to your doctor -- ask if a virtual visit (also called a telehealth visit) is available. You can also find a doctor or call the Ascension location near you to discuss the best option for your care.
Ascension is offering online urgent care visits through Ascension Online Care. Avoid exposure to germs and get the care you need from home. Online visits, also called telehealth or telemedicine, can address a wide variety of symptoms and conditions, including: urinary tract infections, sinus or upper respiratory infections, eye infections, rash, sore throat/strep/cough, cold/flu, fever and seasonal allergies. To get started, download Ascension Online Care from the App Store or Google Play or visit ascension.org/onlinecare to learn more.
Thank you for trusting us with your care.
What do I do if I have upcoming prenatal appointments?
It is important that you continue to go to your prenatal or postpartum visits. The health and safety of you and your baby are our top priorities.
If you have an upcoming appointment and are feeling sick or have other questions, please call your doctor’s office first. Let your doctor’s office know about your symptoms so that we can discuss the best option for your care. And ask if online visits are available for some of your upcoming appointments.
If you will be coming into the office for an appointment, please know that we are following the protocols and processes recommended by the CDC to keep you and your baby safe, throughout your pregnancy, delivery and thereafter. Here’s how you can help reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19):
- Give yourself extra time by arriving earlier than usual for your appointment time. We are screening everyone entering our hospitals, clinics and facilities.
- If you need someone to bring you to your appointment, please bring only one person. If your family member, friend or caregiver has been diagnosed with COVID-19, has been exposed to the virus or is in a high-risk category, please ask someone else to bring you.
What if my delivery date is soon?
Your health and safety are our top priorities. We are following the protocols and processes recommended by the CDC to keep you and your baby safe, throughout your delivery and thereafter. If you have concerns about your delivery, please contact your doctor’s office and talk with your doctor as a first step.
Will there be family visits allowed for the birth of my baby?
New temporary visitor rules have been put in place to decrease the spread of coronavirus and to keep our patients, families, care teams and the communities we serve safe. At this time, we are restricting visitors to our facilities. Please check with your care team as information is changing rapidly.
We know how special this time is and that you will want to stay connected to your loved ones during your delivery. We encourage communication through the use of personal devices such as smartphones and tablets. Please see our tips for staying connected.
Visiting patients at an Ascension site of care
New temporary visitor rules have been implemented to try to decrease the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and to keep our patients, families, care teams and the communities we serve safe. At this time, facilities near you may be restricting visitors. Please contact the location before visiting.
We recognize you will want to stay connected to your loved ones who may be in our care. At this time, we encourage communication through the use of personal devices such as smartphones and tablets. Please see our tips for staying connected (PDF).
Lowering your risk of exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19)
Everyone is encouraged to take precautions to avoid being exposed to COVID-19 – regardless of age or whether you have pre-existing health conditions. Stay away from crowds and others who are sick, wash your hands with soap and water often and for about 20 seconds, and avoid touching your face. It’s also a good idea to clean and disinfect surfaces you touch.
Also, view the CDC’s “How to Prepare” webpage for more ways to protect yourself and your family.
If you develop cold-like or flu-like symptoms (PDF), stay home, rest, and avoid exposing others until you feel better. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and throw the tissue away. Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen or if you develop shortness of breath.
Information for Ascension associates
The health and safety of our patients, communities and associates is our top priority.
If you are an Ascension associate, please find more information here.
(In order to access the link, you will need to be logged into your Ascension Google account.)
During this difficult time across the country and around the world, we thank our Ascension doctors, nurses and care teams who continue to answer the call of our Mission to care for our patients and communities with dignity and respect and to deliver compassionate care for all.
Making a donation
Our doctors, nurses and care teams continue to answer the call of our Mission to care for our communities – especially now, when our communities need it most.
Your donations can help our care teams care for your local community, as the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) continues.
You can make a difference in our fight against COVID-19
Learn more about 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.
View the CDC's "How to Prepare" webpage for more ways to protect yourself and your family.
Updates from Our Care Team
Are your symptoms the flu? a cold? allergies? or COVID-19?
Use this chart to compare symptoms of each of these.
Letter to families
Thank you for entrusting the care of your loved one to Ascension care teams.
>> Download the Letter to Families PDF Here
CDC recommends wearing cloth face masks in public
Washing hands and social distancing are still most effective in reducing risk.
Worried about COVID-19?
Here are some ways to protect you and your family.
>> Download Download the How COVID-19 Affects the Body PDF Here
Read tips for our patients and their families to stay connected virtually while under visitor restrictions.
>> Download Download the Virtual Visitation Tips PDF Here
The President's Coronavirus Guidelines for America
The White House has issued the President’s new Coronavirus Guidelines for America -- Coronavirus Guidelines: 30 Days to Slow the Spread.