Coronavirus Resources

For a the most up-to-date information regarding the spread of and response to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), visit the CDC's public advisory portal

For frequently asked questions, visit the CDC's COVID-19 FAQ page.

Washington Department of Health: Hotline for Community Questions 1.800.525.0127

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 

Updated March 30, 2020 


Quick Links 

 

About Coronavirus

 What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing respiratory illness in people and others circulating among animals. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people and then spread between people. Previous coronavirus outbreaks have included severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). The current coronavirus is now called SARS coronavirus 2 and the disease it causes is known as COVID-19. 

The risk of harm from COVID-19 is low overall. 81 percent of people only experience mild to moderate disease symptoms. Certain people are more at risk for severe disease symptoms, including the elderly, people with heart, liver, kidney, or lung disease, and people who have diseases or take medications that weaken their immune systems. These people need to be especially careful.

For more information, visit the CDC's COVID-19 Situation Summary.

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What are the symptoms?

Fever, cough, and in some cases, difficulty breathing. For many, it presents a lot like the flu. 

Not sure if you have a cold, the flu or COVID-19?
Consult this symptom checker to determine if you should consult a healthcare provider.

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How does it spread?

COVID-19 appears to spread like other respiratory viruses—by people with the infection coughing and sneezing infected droplets into the environment. These droplets contaminate the environment and can be moved to the eyes, nose, or mouth by hands that have touched a contaminated surface. The droplets travel no more than 6 feet from the infected person.

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  Who needs to get tested for COVID-19?

Currently we are recommending that people with the following TWO factors be tested:

Symptoms including fever (most people with COVID-19 have a fever over 100° F) or new cough or new breathing problems

AND

Risk of having the disease after coming in to contact with someone or someplace known to have the disease:

  • Places that have seen COVID-19 include the countries of China, South Korea, Japan, Italy, and Iran, and local places including certain nursing homes and hospitals

OR

Risk of getting a severe infection:

  • People at high risk include people with heart, lung, liver, or kidney disease; elderly people; people with compromised immune systems, such as those with cancer or who have had a transplant; and people who take immune weakening medications, such as prednisone. 

To receive COVID-19 testing from Valley, get screened first at a Respiratory Evaluation site (North Benson Urgent Care, Covington Clinic South and Newcastle Clinic) to rule out other illnesses. If COVID-19 is suspected, you will receive a provider referral for a testing appointment at Valley's main campus testing site.   Refer to the CDC's guidelines for testing.

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What is Valley Medical Center doing about COVID-19 coronavirus? Newcastle Clinic

All hospitals within UW Medicine (including Valley Medical Center) have plans and protocols in place for how to assess the risk when a patient presents meeting the criteria for a suspected case of COVID-19 coronavirus disease. Valley Medical Center is primarily evaluating very sick patients with strong risk of COVID-19 in the Emergency Department. Most patients experiencing symptoms should be evaluated first at one of our three Respiratory Evaluation sites (North Benson Urgent CareCovington Clinic South and Newcastle Clinic) to rule out other illnesses. If a case of COVID-19 is suspected, testing will be done and an evaluation will be carried out to see if it’s safe for the patient to return home, which is often the case. Sicker patients may be admitted in to the hospital. Many special procedures are in place at our hospital and clinics to ensure our patients, staff, and visitors remain safe from spread of the disease. Hospital staff have been trained and supplied with the skills and resources necessary to care for patients who present with coronavirus and contain the illness. 

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What do I need to know to keep myself and my family safe?

The most important steps to take are the same as for every cold and flu season:

  • Wash your hands frequently with sanitizer or soap and water.
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. 
  • Obey state and local stay-at-home orders. Consider using grocery and takeout food delivery services. If you do go out for essentials, keep six feet between you and others.
  • Stay home if you’re feeling ill. 

What should I do if I get ill? Do I need COVID-19 testing?

 Keep in mind this is a very busy season for cold and flu viruses and they are more likely to be causing your illness than COVID-19 at this time.

 If you are not too ill, stay at home, stay hydrated, rest, and use over the counter medications to help yourself feel better. Most respiratory illnesses at this time of year are viral, and you do not need to see your doctor for these problems as there is not specific treatment. You may return to your usual activities after your fever is gone and you are feeling better for at least 24 hours.  

If you feel you have been exposed to COVID-19 or are concerned because you feel very sick, call your provider for help on what to do and where to go if testing is appropriate. Most patients experiencing symptoms should be evaluated first at one of our three Respiratory Evaluation sites (North Benson Urgent CareCovington Clinic South and Newcastle Clinic) to rule out other illnesses. If a case of COVID-19 is suspected, testing will be done and an evaluation will be carried out to see if it’s safe for the patient to return home, which is often the case. If COVID-19 is suspected, you will receive a provider referral for a testing appointment at Valley's main campus testing site. If you have been exposed to COVID-19, please call your providers office first. Most of our providers are not doing COVID-19 testing in clinic. 

This is a rapidly evolving situation and we will update our site with information as it becomes available. You may also want to check the following government sites:

 

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Valley Medical Center Operations


 I have an appointment, should I come in?

Please click here for information and instructions.

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 Updated March 24, 2020 at 9:45 AM

Have there been any schedule changes / cancellations for classes, events or support groups?

  • Blood Drives  on campus are temporarily suspended. Alternate, nearby locations are available. Click here for more information.
  • The following events are held virtually. Click the link for online meeting information:
    • Hope in Your Heart (Cancer Support Group)
    • Cancer Lifeline in-person meetings are cancelled through the end of March. Some support groups have been rescheduled as virtual meetings. Please visit CancerLifeline.org for up-to-date meeting information and class schedules.
     
  • In accordance with the CDC's recommendation of social distancing as a means of helping to slow the spread of coronavirus, Valley Medical Center has cancelled all other classes / events / support groups through the end of May, 2020

More changes or cancellations may be necessary, so please check our events listings for current offerings.

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