General

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.

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. 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
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

More on how COVID-19 spreads is available from the CDC.

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.

Yes, visit the NCDHHS for more information.

Prevention

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.

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

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. These steps will help 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.

Treatment

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.

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.

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.

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. Most people with illnesses due to coronavirus recover on their own. 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).

Visitation Restrictions

Vidant 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.

Thank you for trusting Vidant Health to care for you and your loved ones. The safety of our patients, visitors and team members is our top priority. As Vidant continues to monitor and respond to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic across North Carolina, we are taking steps to ensure the safety of all. Vidant remains vigilant with its screening process for all visitors, entry requirements and visitor restrictions by department. This is an evolving situation and Vidant continues to closely monitor local data, including COVID-19 cases in our region and in our hospitals, and will adjust visitation restrictions accordingly.

Read more on Vidant’s updated visitation restrictions.

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.

Some operations have been altered to prepare for impacts of COVID-19 and keep patients and team members safe. These changes impact visitation and dining services.

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.

Safety

Vidant is committed to maintaining the safest environment to deliver essential care and services throughout the ongoing pandemic, which includes separate triage and treatment zones for COVID-19 patients. We are using sophisticated cleaning techniques. This includes using sterilization and cleaning protocols such as the use of Solaris UV Lytbots. Vidant’s trained environmental service teams have – and will continue to – ensure all high-touch surfaces are fully sanitized.

Yes, Vidant is accepting donated personal protective equipment. Please send an email to [email protected] 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

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.

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

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.

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.

Vaccine