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COVID-19 Update

Hospital and Emergency Care During COVID-19

During the COVID-19 pandemic and now as our communities begin to reopen, it’s important to understand that when you need medical care, you should seek treatment. Our hospitals and emergency departments are open and available to provide you with safe emergency and essential care. We are also ready to safely care for you — in-person or as a video visit — for a wide range of your health care needs.

If you have questions, please connect with us through MyChart or call your provider. We are here for you during this pandemic and as we move forward, safely treating you both in-person and remotely.

Please carefully review all the safety measures we have in place to protect all our patients and staff members.

 

Emergency Care

When should I call 911 or go to the emergency department?

Call 911 if you are experiencing potentially life-threatening symptoms.

We understand you are concerned about your safety and the safety of loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s important to seek medical care when you need it. Delaying care may create greater risks to your health.

The following are just some of the symptoms for which you should immediately call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department. (Note: This is not a complete list.)

  • Chest pain or pressure, palpitations, shortness of breath or other symptoms of heart attack or other heart problems
  • Sudden numbness, weakness, confusion, loss of vision, problems with speech or balance, or other symptoms of stroke
  • Unexplained or worsening shortness of breath, or other breathing problems
  • High fever
  • Intense or unexplained pain
  • Heavy bleeding or bleeding without an obvious cause
  • Severe injury or trauma, including deep, large or severe cuts
  • Possible fractures or broken bones
  • Any other problems that you consider an emergency

What if I'm afraid to go to the emergency department?

We understand those fears. Our emergency department is able to isolate patients who may have COVID-19 or other infections from those with other emergent problems. Emergency department staff members wear personal protective equipment and place patients who may have COVID-19 in private rooms to ensure infections are not spread from person to person. Each patient room is fully cleaned and disinfected after each patient leaves. Note also that waiting too long to seek care for some health care emergencies is a bigger risk than the chance of contracting COVID-19.


COVID-19 Safety Precautions

What safety precautions are you taking to help make sure the environment is safe and clean for me?

Your health and well-being are our highest priorities. At Johns Hopkins Medicine, our infection prevention specialists are leaders in providing guidelines to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, and we take infection prevention very seriously in all of our clinics, patient rooms and operating rooms. In addition, we have carefully planned and taken extra precautions to help ensure that we are doing everything we can to minimize any risk to our patients and staff members.

Our medical staff works closely with our Department of Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control to ensure the highest levels of safety are observed. We combine this knowledge with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Maryland Department of Health and DC Health.

 
 

We are implementing the following safety guidelines in our hospitals:

Masked staff preparing tests.Everyone must wear masks in our care facilities.

We are screening, and as appropriate, testing.

  • Everyone is screened for COVID-19 symptoms and risk factors as they enter our buildings.
  • All patients are tested for COVID-19 prior to hospital admission and 72 hours prior to having a surgery or procedure. Patients planning to have surgery or a procedure can get more information about what to expect on our surgeries and procedures page.
  • All staff members and physicians are screened daily. They do not come to work if there is any sign of symptoms related to COVID-19.
  • We will immediately separate anyone in the facility who we believe may have COVID-19 before they encounter other patients, and we will offer testing as appropriate.

We require universal masking and wear appropriate protective equipment.

  • All staff members, patients and visitors (if permitted) must wear masks in the facility (except children under age 2).
  • Patients staying in the hospital may remove their mask when alone in their room, but when they are able, must put on a mask when staff, care partners, or others enter the room. This is especially important when staff are in close contact with the patient (closer than 6 feet). 
  • Our care teams treating COVID-19 patients wear personal protective equipment, including N95 respirators, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

We are extremely focused on keeping our facilities clean.

  • Surfaces and equipment are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected using products that are effective against a range of organisms and viruses, including the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. 
  • We clean our waiting rooms frequently.
  • Our exam, procedure, treatment and operating rooms are cleaned and disinfected frequently, including before and after each patient, according to the guidelines of our Johns Hopkins infection prevention experts, the CDC, the Maryland Department of Health and DC Health.
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol is always available.
  • Our doctors, nurses and all medical staff members sanitize or wash their hands before and after interacting with patients.

We minimize the number of people at the facility and practicing physical distancing.

  • Some hospital entrances have been closed to limit traffic and make sure everyone is screened.
  • We follow all physical distancing guidelines for patients and staff members.
  • Our waiting room chairs are spaced 6 feet apart, and only a few patients are allowed in the waiting rooms at a time.
  • The number of staff members in exam rooms and operating rooms is limited and only those essential to your care are present. We maintain at least 6 feet between people except during medical care activities.
  • For now, we are limiting who may accompany a patient into our care facilities. Be sure to read our visitor guidelines. We will return to our patient-centered visitor policies as soon as possible.
 
 

How do I know I won’t get COVID-19 in the emergency department?

Depending on the urgency of the patient’s medical needs, everyone entering the emergency department is immediately screened for symptoms of COVID-19.

Our emergency departments isolate patients who may have COVID-19 or other infections from those with other emergent problems.

  • The emergency staff wears personal protective equipment and places patients who may have COVID-19 in specially designated private rooms to ensure infections are not spread from person to person.
  • Each patient room is fully cleaned and disinfected after each patient leaves.

How do I know I won’t get COVID-19 if I need to stay in the hospital for treatment?

Johns Hopkins Medicine has expertise in infectious diseases, and the training and preparedness to safely care for patients with COVID-19. This is our procedure for patients with COVID-19:

  • All of our hospitals screen patients for COVID-19 symptoms and risk factors.
  • All patients are tested for COVID-19 at the time of hospital admission and 72 hours prior to having a surgery or procedure. Get more information about what to expect on our surgeries and procedures page.
  • Our highly skilled staff members know how to care for a patient with COVID-19, and how to protect themselves and others.
  • Any patient known to have or under investigation for COVID-19 who is admitted to our hospitals is cared for in a separate area with special isolation precautions by a dedicated team of nurses, doctors and other health care providers.
  • Each patient room is fully cleaned and disinfected after each patient leaves.

How does Johns Hopkins make sure nurses, doctors and staff members aren’t sick?

All staff members at Johns Hopkins Medicine answer COVID-19 screening questions every day and attest that they do not have symptoms consistent with possible COVID-19 infection.

Anyone who reports symptoms is instructed to leave work immediately and report those symptoms to Johns Hopkins Medicine Occupational Health Services so that they can be evaluated and tested for COVID-19 if needed. Employees are not allowed to work if they have symptoms, and they must be cleared by Occupational Health Services before returning to work.

Are all Johns Hopkins Medicine employees tested for COVID-19?

We are committed to providing safe, high­-quality care for our communities as well as protecting our patients and employees. We currently prioritize testing of patients and employees who show symptoms of COVID-19. We follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which does not recommend universal testing of employees. We continue to closely monitor the situation and the relevant data. We will adjust our safety protocols when additional CDC guidance or data suggests that this is appropriate.


Surgeries and Procedures

In accordance with guidance from the Maryland Department of Health and DC Health, Johns Hopkins Medicine is performing select surgeries and procedures for our patients. Visit our surgeries and procedures page for information on making appointments, our safety measures and how to plan for your visit.

All Labor and Delivery Patients

How are you protecting women who come in for labor and delivery?

In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of all patients and staff members, we are testing for COVID-19 and taking precautions for each woman who is admitted to Labor and Delivery for delivery. The care team will follow special infection prevention procedures and wear proper personal protective equipment.

Depending on the woman’s COVID-19 test results, she may be cared for in a negative pressure room and according to COVID-19 guidance for deliveries.

Please carefully review our restrictions in labor and delivery for visitors, family and care partners visitor guidelines for more information.

We will return to our pre-COVID-19, less restrictive visitor policies as soon as we feel it is safe to do so.


A sign promoting safety protocols.

In-Person Appointments

Our hospitals and emergency departments are open and available to provide you with safe emergency and essential care. We also provide many in-person appointments and video visits for a wide range of care needs. Please review our information on safety and patient care.

When should I be seen in person?

  • Call 911 or go to the emergency department if you ever experience severe or life-threatening symptoms. Urgent and emergent problems always require you to be seen in person.
  • For all other medical concerns, including treatment for chronic conditions, wellness exams, screenings and lab tests, call your doctor’s office. The care team and your doctor can help determine if an in-person appointment or video visit is most appropriate for your care need.
  • If you do come in for care, please remember that we follow guidelines to prevent spread of COVID-19. Our hospital policies include COVID-19 screening, wearing a mask and practicing physical distancing.
  • If your appointment is in a clinic within one of our hospitals, please read our in-person primary and specialty care information.

What to Expect When You Come to the Hospital

illustration of a doctor and patient wearing masks

We are ready to safely care for you in our community practices, clinics, surgery centers and hospitals. Learn about the additional steps we're taking to keep you safe.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have extra measures in place at Johns Hopkins hospitals to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

  • Everyone entering our facilities is screened for COVID-19 and must wear a face mask.
  • If you have an appointment in a clinic within one of our hospitals, please read our in-person primary and specialty care information.
  • All patients are tested for COVID-19 at the time of hospital admission and 48 to 72 hours prior to having a surgery or procedure. For more information about what to expect, please see our surgeries and procedures page.
  • For now, we are limiting who may accompany a patient into our care facilities. Be sure to read our visitor guidelines. We will return to our patient-centered visitor policies as soon as possible.
  • Review what entrances and parking garages are closed at your care facility. Arrive early to allow extra time to park and enter the care facility.
  • Patients staying in the hospital are encouraged to bring their digital devices, such as a mobile device, tablet or laptop, so they can connect virtually with their loved ones during their stay. This will help patients follow our revised visitor restriction guidelines.
  • If hospital patients need items brought from home, essential items, such as hearing aids, glasses, dentures, communication devices (mobile phones, laptops, chargers), and small, inexpensive spiritual or religious items can be dropped off. Each hospital has a specific location for dropping off items.
    • For The Johns Hopkins Hospital, items may be dropped off at the front desk at the Zayed, Weinberg and Nelson buildings.
    • For Sibley Memorial Hospital, items may be dropped off at screening tables in Buildings A, B and D.
    • For Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, call the Office of Patient Experience at 410-550-0626, Monday–Friday.
    • For Suburban Hospital, items can be dropped off at the main hospital entrance and given to the security office at the information desk.
    • For Howard County General Hospital, items may be dropped at the visitor entrance. 

Visitors, Family, Care Partners

For now, we are limiting who may accompany a patient into our care facilities. Be sure to read our visitor guidelines. We will return to our patient-centered visitor policies as soon as possible.

How can I connect with my loved one in the hospital?

We have created a list of COVID-19 virtual resources that will help you stay in touch with your loved one. Please review these digital resources to connect with your loved one in the hospital and to assist them in their care.


Insurance and Financial Assistance

Since I scheduled my surgery, I lost my job and no longer have health insurance (or my insurance changed). What should I do?

If your insurance changed, please provide your clinic or surgery scheduler with the correct insurance information.

Johns Hopkins Medicine offers programs to help patients determine the best options for their unique financial situation. We can help you apply for medical assistance coverage through the state. To complete the screening and application process, please reach us at 410-955-7798. More information about financial assistance and payment plans is also available.


All Patient Information

Learn about our other patient care options, including:

You can also enroll in MyChart to manage appointments, communicate with your provider, receive test results and request prescription renewals.


Updated October 2, 2020. Please check back frequently for updates.

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