Coronavirus: What You Need to Know

Over the past few weeks, you have all seen or heard much about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, in California. We recognize that situations such as this can create fear and anxiety and our best way to address that is through communication, education, and preparation. Below you will find information to answer many of the questions or concerns you might have.

FAQs in Spanish

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases. These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
I may have been exposed to the coronavirus. What should I do?

If you or a family member have traveled recently to an area of risk (currently China, Iran, South Korea, Europe, Scandinavia, Japan or Hong Kong), or if you think you may have been exposed to the virus by someone else who has visited one of these locations within the past 2 weeks AND you have symptoms of an infection (fever, cough, shortness of breath), you should call your primary care doctor or a telephone advice nurse at 877-mymemcare (877-696-3622) for further instructions.

If you have severe respiratory distress, you should call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room.

The recommendation is that people who are only mildly or even moderately ill should remain at home during their illness, and similar to the common cold, most infected people will recover on their own. There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus and there is no specific treatment for COVID-19.

If you are significantly ill and need to be seen, it is very important to call your healthcare provider before you come in so that they can direct you to the most appropriate care, and take precautions to protect other patients, visitors, and employees. If you do not have a primary care physician, you may call our telephone advice nurses at 877-mymemcare (877-696-3622) for further instructions.

I have an appointment scheduled with my doctor; should I still go?

We understand how important the support of loved ones and friends is to patients, particularly during sensitive situations. For this reason, visitor exceptions will be made based on the criteria outlined below: 

  • Pediatric outpatients may have one (1) parent/legal guardian at their visit 
  • OB patients may have one (1) support person (if needed) at their visit 
  • Dependent patients with limited decisional or physical capacity may have one (1) person at their visit  

Any visitor who meets the exception criteria outlined above will be masked and screened and will be asked to remain in their car if they have symptoms of a respiratory infection (fever, runny nose, cough, shortness of breath). 

Patients with scheduled, non-urgent appointments: each physician will review their schedule daily to assess the needs and severity of each case. If you have a scheduled, non-urgent visit, including annual wellness visits, well-child checkups for children over the age of 6 years old, physicals and well-woman exams, we would be happy to reschedule your appointment for a later date. To reschedule your appointment, please login to myChart or call 877-mymemcare (877-696-3622).

Video visits: the ability for video visits will be in place within the next few days. As an option for our patients over the age of 65 years old, patients considered high-risk under our care, or need to be screened for COVID-19, this is an alternate option.

Is it safe to undergo surgery at a MemorialCare hospital?

Yes, it is safe to have surgery at the hospital. The safety of our patients, family and staff is of the utmost importance to us. Rest assured that we are following all infection control policies and the guidelines of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to decrease exposure to the Coronavirus. There are hand sanitizers available at every entrance, floor, and patient room. Upon checking in, patients with respiratory symptoms are masked as they enter the facility. We are caring for all patients while also safeguarding their families and visitors, as well as our healthcare professionals.

If you have a procedure (surgery) or scheduled appointments at one of our medical centers, please plan to keep your appointment if you are feeling well and don’t have any of the symptoms we are screening for including fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

What can I do to keep myself, my family and friends safe?

Like other illnesses, you can protect yourself from the novel coronavirus by maintaining the same practices that you use during flu season or whenever you encounter someone with respiratory illness.

  • Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds (this is best) or using hand sanitizer gel after your hands have touched an object or another person
  • Cover your cough, use your elbows, not your hands
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Avoid close contact, when possible, with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness
  • Stay at home if you are ill
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using regular household cleaning spray or wipes
  • Stay informed – check the Center for Disease Control (CDC) site regularly for new updates
Who should be tested for COVID-19?

With limited tests, not everyone should be tested for COVID-19. Please review the criteria below that might help in making decisions about seeking care or testing. 

  • Individuals with severe symptoms of COVID-19 should be tested, or those in a high-risk category.
  • Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and are able to recover at home.
  • There is no treatment specifically approved for this virus.
  • Testing results may be helpful to inform decision-making about who you come into contact with.
When should you seek medical attention for COVID-19?

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include:
Trouble breathing, especially if it leads to:

  • Persistent pain or pressure in chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

Please be assured that MemorialCare has standard protocols for evaluating and treating patients with an infection to limit potential exposure for other patients, our staff and our doctors.

Long Beach residents: For additional information about Coronavirus, please contact the City of Long Beach Coronavirus Hotline at (562) 570-4636.

Orange County residents: For additional information about Coronavirus, Orange County Public Health has created a Health Referral Line to take questions from the public about COVID-19. For inquiries, please call (800) 564-8448.