Not Feeling Well? - Call our free community helpline: 252-847-8000

FAQ

WHAT IS COVID-19?

A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold. A diagnosis with coronavirus 229E, NL63, OC43, or HKU1 is not the same as a COVID-19 diagnosis. Patients with COVID-19 will be evaluated and cared for differently than patients with common coronavirus diagnosis.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19?

Coronaviruses that commonly circulate in the U.S. cause symptoms similar to the flu and typically cause mild to moderate respiratory illness. Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure. Most people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms that do not require hospitalization, although there have been reports of severe illness with a small percentage resulting in death. Respiratory symptoms alone are not an indicator for COVID-19. People with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Or at least two of these symptoms:
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

We know that people are contagious when they have symptoms. Whether the virus can be spread before someone has symptoms is currently being evaluated. More on how COVID-19 spreads is available from the CDC.

I FEEL SICK. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

The most important thing for community members to do if they feel sick is to call their primary care physician first to describe their symptoms. For otherwise healthy individuals, the best approach for those who think they may have the virus is to consult with their doctor – or use telehealth options like VidantNow – and self-quarantine until they are tested to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

ARE THERE COVID-19 CASES IN NORTH CAROLINA?

Yes, visit the NCDHHS for more information.

HOW ARE THE CDC, THE NC DIVISION OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENTS WORKING TOGETHER?

The CDC has been preparing for COVID-19 cases in the United States for weeks, including alerting clinicians about how to detect, report and diagnose novel coronavirus and prevent spread. The CDC has also provided guidance for travelers. The North Carolina Division of Public Health’s Communicable Disease Branch has taken proactive steps to be prepared for potential cases in North Carolina, including following the latest CDC recommendations related to surveillance, evaluation and response. The Division of Public Health will also be working with local health departments and hospitals statewide to provide updates on surveillance and response plans. Vidant Hospitals are closely aligned with local health departments as we prepare for the potential of seeing patients impacted by COVID-19.

HOW IS COVID-19 SPREAD?

Coronaviruses like COVID-19 are most often spread through the air by coughing or sneezing, through close personal contact (including touching and shaking hands) or through touching your nose, mouth or eyes before washing your hands. Learn more from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about how COVID-19 spreads and how to protect yourself and your community from getting and spreading respiratory illnesses.

IS MASKING RECOMMENDED FOR COMMUNITY MEMBERS?

Yes. When worn properly, masks have been shown to decrease the transmission of respiratory viruses. Vidant recommends masking for all community members when in public to help protect themselves, those around them and Vidant team members. Wearing a mask is the best way to safely visit and support local businesses as they reopen. Masks are especially important when social distancing is not possible, when entering or exiting businesses and for employees who interact with customers.

HOW CAN I PROTECT MYSELF AND PREVENT THE SPREAD OF COVID-19?

Follow these common-sense measures to protect yourself and others from spreading viruses, including COVID-19:

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Do not reuse tissue after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Practice social distancing.
  • Wear a mask when in situations where social distancing is not possible

WHAT IS SOCIAL DISTANCING?

Social distancing is a practice that is designed to limit the number of infections in the community. The CDC also recommends avoiding close contact with people who are sick and put distance between yourself and others if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. These steps will help to "flatten the curve."

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO "FLATTEN THE CURVE?"

Flattening the curve refers to community isolation measures that keep the daily number of disease cases at a manageable level for medical providers. By "flattening the curve" we reduce the chance of everyone becoming infected at one time. This will help preserve supply and improve patient outcomes.

WHAT IS VIDANT'S PROCESS FOR DEALING WITH PATIENTS WITH POSSIBLE COVID-19 SYMPTOMS?

Vidant has a standard process in place at all of our hospitals and practice locations for patients who may arrive with possible COVID-19 symptoms.

This includes putting a mask on the patient; isolating patients to protect other patients and visitors; and testing patients via a viral panel to test for other illnesses like flu—and if patients are high-risk for COVID-19—coordinating with the North Carolina Department of Health and Humans Services to have a patient tested and quarantined at home, if they are otherwise healthy.

If the patient is in need of inpatient treatment, we are able to safely transfer them to a Vidant hospital where they will receive care in an isolation room with respiratory support and other interventions as needed. Importantly, Vidant Medical Center leadership is in constant contact with Vidant community hospitals to ensure potential COVID-19 patients are able to receive the necessary level of care, as we would with any other type of illness.

WHAT IS VIDANT’S CLINICAL PLAN FOR HOSPITALS AND PHYSICIAN PRACTICES?

Patients presenting with coughs upon admission to entry points of care—such as Vidant emergency departments and office settings—are asked to wear a mask, whether they arrive to a Vidant emergency department, clinic or office. Those with a medical travel history to suggest they have had recent travel (14 days) to a high-risk area, or exposure to another patient being treated for COVID-19, are then placed into an isolation room. We do this routinely.

WHAT TREATMENTS OR VACCINES ARE AVAILABLE?

Currently there is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself from respiratory diseases like COVID-19 is to take common-sense precautions. These include frequent hand washing, avoiding touching your face, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze and making sure you have gotten your annual flu shot. There is work underway to develop a vaccine. Most people with illnesses due to coronavirus recover on their own. There are no specific treatments for COVID-19, but treatments to bring down fever or alleviate other symptoms may help. For people who become severely ill, hospitals can provide care. There is more to be learned about COVID-19 as the situation continues to evolve, and treatment options may change over time. Learn more from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

WHAT HAS VIDANT DONE TO PREPARE THE SYSTEM SUPPLY CHAIN?

Vidant has a very large supply of necessary gloves, gowns and masks. We also resupply on a regular basis. We have conservation methods in place to help ensure we are making the best use of these needed supplies. Finally, there are supplies available for use in medical outbreaks and disasters, and we know how to apply for those supplies as needed.

HOW WILL VIDANT ENFORCE VISITOR RESTRICTIONS?

Vidant Health values family and community presence when loved ones are in the hospital. At the same time, Vidant is responsible for protecting patients and team members from being exposed to infectious viruses.

As Vidant continues to restore essential care and services, it is important to explore thoughtful solutions to help keep patients connected to their loved ones while also prioritizing safety. The safest way for loved ones to connect with a patient remains via virtual visitation options like video chat and phone calls. Assistance with virtual visits is available at Vidant hospitals upon request.

To help accommodate patients requiring in-person visitation from a loved one, Vidant has announced new restriction exceptions by area at Vidant hospitals and clinics. Our robust testing capabilities, masking policy, detailed screening for all team members and visitors as well as thorough cleaning protocols have helped us create a safe environment.

Read more on Vidant's updated visitation restrictions

IS VIDANT PREPARING TO HAVE ADDITIONAL LOBBY SPACE AVAILABLE?

In an effort to proactively prepare for a potential surge in patient volume, additional space has been identified in or near all Vidant hospital emergency departments. These spaces will be the first stop that a patient makes when they are seeking emergency care. Team members will ask questions as they normally would in the main ED lobby to help assess the appropriate level of care through the standard triage process. Importantly, the tents or specially prepared spaces are not an alternate care location for COVID-19 patients or COVID-19 testing.

WILL VIDANT CONTINUE TO HAVE NORMAL OPERATIONS?

Some operations have been altered to prepare for impacts of COVID-19 and keep patients and team members safe. These changes impact visitationdining services, elective surgeries, and parking and transportation.

DOES VIDANT HAVE ACCOMMODATIONS TO ASSIST VISITORS WHO MAY HAVE A DISABILITY?

In following the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) guidelines, visitors who need assistance due to a disability may have an additional individual with them when visiting a loved one in a Vidant Health facility to help navigate the current visitor guidelines.

WHAT IS VIDANT DOING TO KEEP PATIENTS AND VISITORS SAFE?

We keep patients safe by identifying those with coughs upon admission to our entry points of care — such as our emergency departments and office settings—and place a mask on the patient. This is standard practice that is in place year-round, and is most needed during cold and flu season, which is still occurring.

If the patient also traveled to an area at risk for COVID-19, or the patient has had exposure to someone being treated for COVID-19, they will be placed into an isolation room, which protects Vidant team members, other patients and visitors.

Vidant team members wear personal protective equipment (PPE) as required by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.

IS VIDANT ACCEPTING DONATED PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)?

Yes, Vidant is accepting donated personal protective equipment. Please send an email to VidantHealthFoundation@VidantHealth.com to set up a donation of any of the following items:

  • Isolation gowns
  • Face shields
  • Safety goggles
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Clorox wipes
  • Surgical masks
  • N95 masks
  • Exam gloves

WHAT IS VIDANT DOING TO KEEP TEAM MEMBERS SAFE?

For those working in Vidant hospitals and clinics, the use of isolation rooms and personal protective equipment (PPE), plus hand washing, are our best methods of protecting team members. We have also made our telehealth option, VidantNow, $20 or less with the use of the code: vidantrelief20. As a reminder, team members who are on the Vidant Medical Plan (with the exception of the Medical Savings Plan) can use VidantNow — for free. Additionally, Vidant has moved to a new workforce model that includes remote work for team members who can effectively do their jobs remotely.

DOES VIDANT HAVE ENOUGH ISOLATION ROOMS?

We have more than 100 isolation rooms at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville and additional isolation rooms in Vidant community hospitals.

DO VIDANT HOSPITALS HAVE HAND SANITIZER FOR VISITORS?

We have hand sanitizer readily available throughout all our hospitals, with dispensers mounted in public areas, corridors, lobbies and in/or around waiting areas. There are also dispensers inside patient rooms for patients, team member and visitor use. We are committed to providing a safe environment for anyone entering our facilities.

I HAVE RECENTLY TRAVELED OR WILL BE TRAVELING. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Travel guidance and recommendations are changing frequently. For the latest recommendations for returning travelers or those planning a trip, visit NCDHHS' webpage on travel, the CDC's travel guidance and the U.S. Department of State website.

HOW IS NORTH CAROLINA PREPARING FOR A POSSIBLE OUTBREAK?

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper issued a stay at home order, effective March 30.

Translate