COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Reviewed: March 25, 2020

Baptist Health Care is taking all the necessary precautions to ensure that our patients, visitors and team members remain safe. We are following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and are monitoring reports from the CDC for accurate and timely updates. We hope this information will be helpful to you.

IF I COME TO A BHC FACILITY THAT HAS A CONFIRMED CASE OF COVID-19, WILL I GET SICK?

The risk of exposure is extremely low for patients, visitors and team members. Casual contact in the hospital does not present a concern. Unless you have had prolonged, close contact with a known case of the virus, you are not considered at risk. Following CDC protocol, we place any patient who is considered a presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in an airborne isolation room, which ensures the safest environment possible for other patients and visitors.

In an abundance of caution and to ensure the safety of all, we are making modifications in the emergency rooms at Baptist, Gulf Breeze and Jay hospitals. All patients visiting the ER at these locations will be asked a series of screening questions recommended by the CDC. Patients who respond affirmatively to these questions will be given a separate treatment area. This measure is in place to ensure the safest precautions for these individuals, other patients, visitors and team members.

WHY CAN’T A HEALTH PROVIDER GIVE MORE DETAILS ABOUT A PATIENT WHO IS BEING TREATED?

We take the privacy of our patients very seriously. Federal privacy laws, also known as HIPAA, require strict confidentiality and prohibit the release of any information about a patient that is part of their medical record, including where they live, work or worship, their medical history, pre-existing conditions and other demographic information.

HAVE THE SERVICES PROVIDED AT BAPTIST HEALTH CARE BEEN AFFECTED?

Yes. Following Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Health & Human Services (HHS) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, elective surgeries and procedures at Baptist Health Care facilities have been postponed. This includes those at Andrews Institute Ambulatory Surgery Center, Baptist Medical Park - Nine Mile Ambulatory Surgery Center, Baptist Hospital, Gulf Breeze Hospital and Jay Hospital. We are working with all patients to reschedule their care to a future date and ensuring their current needs are being met. Exceptions will be made for time-sensitive and urgent needs on a patient-by-patient basis. This action allows us to redeploy resources including supplies, equipment and staff to meet the current and future needs of our community.

In addition, all screening appointments for imaging, including mammograms, DEXA scans, lung CTs and screening endoscopy, are being rescheduled. Medically urgent imaging appointments will remain unchanged as scheduled.

MY LOVED ONE IS A PATIENT AT A BAPTIST HEALTH CARE FACILITY. CAN I VISIT?

A no visitation policy with limited entrances is in place at all our hospitals. Visitor exceptions will be for critical caregivers. Approved visitors will be actively screened prior to entrance with CDC screening questions and temperature checks. Obstetrical patients are allowed a single support person to be present during labor and after delivery. In the rare case that a patient has hired a doula, we are allowing that additional support person to be present; however, this is subject to change based on the course of the coronavirus in our community.

We recognize and value the vital role friends and family play in restoring the health of their loved ones, but we believe these measures are necessary for the wellbeing of our patients, team members and the community we serve. We encourage you to use other ways to see your loved one, such as FaceTime and Skype.

HOW CAN I PREVENT THE SPREAD OF COVID-19?

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus.

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Rub hands together until dry.
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes and mouth.
  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • Avoid close contact with other people. Do not gather in groups of 10 or more and keep at least 6 feet of distance between you and any other person. This is called social distancing and it is vital in helping to reduce the spread of this virus throughout our community. Social distancing means you should not have play dates for your children, meet friends for dinner or drinks, or have non-essential help around your house. Do cancel hair and nail appointments and any other non-essential appointments.
  • Respect all restrictions that are in place to keep you safe and healthy. Remember that area beaches are closed and restaurants are serving only take-out.

WHO IS AT RISK OF COVID-19?

This information is being updated regularly. Please visit cdc.gov/coronavirus for the most current information.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I THINK I HAVE COVID-19?

  • If you think you have COVID-19, call your primary care physician before going to their office so the physician can take precautions to prevent exposing other people. Review your signs, symptoms and travel history with your physician. Your physician will evaluate you for other possible causes of respiratory illness and also contact the county health department to access COVID-19 testing. Per Department of Health guidance, if you are without health insurance or a primary care physician, please contact your county health department so the health department can coordinate your medical evaluation and testing.
  • Escambia County Health Department: 850-595-6500. After hours and weekends, call: 850.418.5566
  • Santa Rosa County Health Department: 850-983-5200
  • Florida Department of Health COVID-19 Call Center number: 1-866-779-6121

WHAT HAPPENS IF I AM CONFIRMED WITH COVID-19?

Most people with confirmed COVID-19 infection reportedly have mild to moderate respiratory illness and can be managed at home in coordination with your physician and your local health department. Persons with severe illness may be hospitalized.

WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION ABOUT COVID-19?

You can find information related to COVID-19 at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.