Young woman wearing mask

What You Need to Know About COVID-19

Many questions have come up from patients, caregivers and members of the community concerning COVID-19. We want to help alleviate your concerns by answering common questions about the novel coronavirus. If you have additional questions please contact the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) or refer to the CDC for information.

Please Note: The situation is fluid and is subject to change. We will do our best to keep you informed and provide access to the best care possible.

What is your reopening safety plan?

Gov. Eric Holcomb’s May 1 executive order outlining Indiana’s five-stage plan for reopening the economy requires that employers publicly share a detailed safety plan, outlining policies, procedures and expectations for safe operations. Please see Community's plan below.

Reopening Safety Plan

I need care now. What should I do?

Our commitment to providing exceptional care is unwavering as the situation with COVID-19 continues. How we deliver care may be changing temporarily, but we remain committed to your health and the health of your family.

If you want to schedule an appointment with your current provider, call their office or send a message through MyChart. They will determine if you are able to have a virtual appointment over the phone or if they need to make other arrangements. If you’re having trouble reaching your provider, call 317-621-5500 for assistance.

If you want to schedule a new appointment or receive immediate care, please call 317-621-5500 to be guided on next steps.

Does Community provide virtual care?

Yes! We encourage individuals to use virtual care wherever possible. Virtual care is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at eCommunity.com/virtual care. We are also extending a virtual care coupon to get your first visit for $20 with code HOME20.

I am experiencing symptoms. What do I do?

If you are worried that may have acquired the COVID-19 coronavirus, we want to quickly direct you to the most appropriate care and prevent the spread of the virus. Instead of driving to your doctor's office or other site of care, please immediately call 317-621-5500 if you're in the Indianapolis area, call 765-298-4240 in Anderson, and 765-776-3990 in Kokomo for guidance on next steps. We'll give you important information to ensure you get the best care possible before coming to an outpatient location.

Stay home if possible. According to the CDC, people who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness. Avoid public areas. Do not go to work, school or public places. Avoid public transportation, ride-sharing or taxis.

Are there visitor restrictions related to coronavirus at your hospitals?

In an attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19, influenza and other infectious diseases in order to protect patients and employees, Community Health Network has limited visitor restrictions at its hospital sites.

No visitors will be permitted at Community Hospital North, Community Hospital East, Community Hospital South, Community Heart and Vascular Hospital, Community Behavioral Health, Community Howard Regional Health and Community Hospital Anderson.

Please see visitation exceptions below for OB/Maternity/NICU and end-of-life scenarios.

For the safety of patients and caregivers, no packages, gifts, food, etc., will be allowed into our facilities.

OB/NICU Visitation

  • Maternity Services departments will allow one support person ONLY for the patient during her stay. The patient cannot have one different visitor during her stay (e.g., Dad goes home and Grandma takes his place). It must be the same support person throughout the stay.
  • NICU departments will allow parents OR assigned guardians ONLY.
  • Maternity patients and NICU parents will be permitted to bring a small bag to the hospital with their personal clothing and their baby’s car seat. Personal items such as birthing balls and pillows will not be allowed.

End of Life Visitation

  • End of life visitation may occur for a maximum of two (2) authorized adults 18 and over.
  • Visitation is for a set amount of time when it is determined a patient is at end of life.
  • A phone screen for COVID-19 symptoms may occur, and an in-person screen will also occur.
  • Visitors traveling to the hospital must have a homemade mask or face covering when they leave their home.
  • Only authorized adults will be permitted into the facility. Children or additional family members are not permitted to be in the lobby during the visit.
  • For your safety, no personal belongings are permitted into the facility other than vehicle keys.
  • End of life visitors must make the screening attendants aware of the visitation.
  • For COVID-19 positive or suspected patients:
    • Authorized visitors will be assisted with additional personal protective equipment (PPE) for your safety.
  • Visitors in personal protective equipment will be required to wear the equipment properly for the duration of the visit.
  • Spiritual care services are available upon request.
  • For the safety of the public, we ask visitors travel directly to the hospital, and head directly back to their home following the visit.

For complete details, please read this letter from Ram Yeleti, MD, EVP, Chief Physician Executive.

End of Life Visitation Expectations (PDF)

Which locations and services have been suspended?

For the health and safety of our patients and caregivers, certain locations and services have been temporarily suspended. Find more information on COVID-19 location and service updates here.

What can I do to help?

Many of our Central Indiana neighbors have reached out asking how they can help at this time. If you would like to offer support, we encourage you to consider the following options:

  • Make a financial donation. Gifts made in response to COVID-19 can help:
    • support patients in financial needs,
    • provide onsite meals for Community care teams,
    • or offer financial assistance for Community caregivers facing sudden and severe hardship.
  • Give personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, face shields, hair covers, gloves, gowns and aprons and more.
  • Donate blood. COVID-19 precautions are affecting our blood supply. Our Blood Center needs 550 donors every day in order to maintain a healthy blood supply. For those who are able, please consider donating. Both the CDC and WHO have deemed it safe to donate.
  • Purchase an Indy Eleven shirt to benefit Community caregivers in need. The team has partnered with its official merchandise partner, The Shop Indy, on a special “Eleven Cares” t-shirt, with proceeds benefiting Community’s Lisa Borinstein Caregiver Assistance Fund.

How are you protecting your caregivers from coronavirus?

We are practicing infection prevention as we would for a disease that is spread like COVID-19. We are meeting daily regarding changes to the situation. We are also running drills for our teams. We are adjusting HR policies so our caregivers know they can stay home if ill. We are working with agencies if we need outside help. We are asking all caregivers, even those who are not at the bedside, to be ready to serve in whatever capacity we need them.

Are there restrictions for hospital vendors?

Yes, external vendors will not be allowed at any Community site, unless it affects direct patient care, and is absolutely necessary and approved in advance. Please reach out to your designated point of contact at Community to make arrangements in advance.

Are there volunteer restrictions?

For everyone’s safety we ask that all Community Health Network volunteers over the age of 60, or those with serious health issues, refrain from volunteering until further notice. Please contact your volunteer supervisor with questions.

What do people need to know about COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a respiratory virus spread by respiratory droplets, mainly from person-to-person. This can happen between people who are in close contact from one another (about 6 feet). It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touching their mouth, nose or possibly eyes, but this is not the main way the virus spreads. People need to wash their hands frequently and keep their hands away from their face once they have touched a surface, shaken a hand or touched another person. Instead of shaking hands, touch elbows or give a nice head nod.

What can I do to prevent getting sick?

Wash your hands and practice good hygiene. Remember, we're all in this together. Let's do our part to help keep everyone healthy.

Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Try to avoid close contact with people who are sick. If you know that someone has COVID-19, keep a distance between yourself and the individual.

Take steps that protect others. Stay home if you're sick, cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue then throw away. Wear a face mask only if you are sick. Be sure to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces like tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, sinks, faucets and pens.

What if I am a higher risk individual?

High risk groups include the elderly and people of all ages who have severe underlying health conditions. Examples of these conditions include heart disease, lung disease, diabetes and auto-immune conditions. If you are a higher risk individual, there are extra ways to take precautions outlined by the CDC.

How can I talk to my kids about coronavirus?

Community Health Network’s Chief Physician Executive, Dr. Ram Yeleti advises that, “You can tell kids and children they will be just fine, but explain that we need to protect their grandparents from the spread.”

According to the CDC, based on available evidence children do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19. Adults currently make up the majority of known cases. The CDC has shared answers to common questions around the coronavirus and children here. For more information on how to talk to your kids about COVID-19, please visit one of the following links:

Should I travel within the US?

We recommend following the CDC’s recommendations for travel within the US. Since there are cases of COVID-19 in many states, please consider the following to decide if it's safe or not. Please avoid cruise ship travel altogether.

  • Is there a community outbreak of COVID-19 at your destination, but not where you live? If so, you may be at higher risk of exposure during your travels.
  • Will you or your travel group be in close contact with others during the trip? Your risk of exposure increases in crowded settings, especially areas with little air circulation. This includes conferences, concerts, sporting events, movie theaters, shopping malls and public transportation such as buses, airplanes and trains.
  • Are you and your travel members at higher risk of severe illness if you do get COVID-19? People at higher risk are older adults and those of any age with serious chronic medical conditions. The CDC recommends that those at higher risk should avoid all cruise travel and nonessential air travel.
  • Do you live with someone who is older or has a severe chronic health condition? If you get sick and return home from travel, your household may be at risk for infection as well. Keep your loved ones top of mind before booking travel.
  • Is COVID-19 spreading where you live? Consider the risk of passing COVID-19 to others during travel, especially those at higher risk. If your symptoms are mild and you don’t have a fever, you may not realize that you have the virus.

What are Indiana's restrictions?

As of May 1, Indiana is following Gov. Holcomb's Back on Track plan to reopen safely. The plan includes widespread testing, aggressive contact tracing, and increasing PPE supplies to protect Hoosiers. More information about the plan, including timelines and guidance for certain groups, may be found at the website https://backontrack.in.gov.

Hoosiers who can donate blood are encouraged to do so and visit local blood centers. This has been deemed as safe, and our current blood supplies are low. Please follow the guidance outlined by the American Red Cross.

If you must be out in public, be sure to do the following before and after. Clean your hands often for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, bring a hand sanitizer with you that contains at least 60% alcohol. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Avoid close contact, especially with people who are sick. Put some distance between yourself and others.

For more information on these updates, please visit the ISDH or CDC websites.

Remember, if you are experiencing symptoms please call before coming to a site of care.

Call 317-621-5500 for the Indianapolis area, 765-298-4240 for Anderson and 765-776-3990 for Kokomo. We'll give you important information to ensure you get the best care possible before coming to an outpatient location.

Thank you for your help in protecting the community.