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.
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 Have a Provider
If you want to schedule an appointment with your current Community provider, you may call their office or send a message through MyChart. They will determine if you are able to have an appointment over the phone or by video, or if they need to make other arrangements. If you’re having trouble reaching your provider, call 317-621-2727 for assistance. MyChart care options include:
- Video Visits: Video visits may be held on a mobile device or your desktop/laptop computer. Learn more about Video Visits.
- E-Visits: E-visits are useful to try to resolve health problems via messaging, without a visit. Learn more about e-Visits.
Don't Have a Provider?
If you want to schedule a new appointment with a provider, please call 317-621-2727 to be guided on next steps.
Community Virtual Care 24/7
Virtual care is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through Community Virtual Care, powered by MDLive. You can use this service whether or not you have a Community provider. Get your first MDLive virtual medical visit for $20 with code HOME20*
*Code not applicable for MDLive behavioral health visits OR MyChart visits.
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 call your provider or 317-621-2727 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.
Community Health Network has established respiratory medical hubs designed for patients experiencing respiratory symptoms or illness. Learn more about symptoms and find a respiratory care 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 at your hospitals?
As conditions of the pandemic continue to evolve, Community’s highest priority remains delivering quality care in the safest possible environment. Our visitor policies reflect the best evidence-based information available, and we’re confident in our safety protocols and our ability to keep patients, visitors and caregivers safe.
Community currently has visitor restrictions in place at its sites of care including, but not limited to, hospitals, ERs and surgery centers. Please see visitation guidelines below for specific areas, including adult inpatient, maternity/NICU, pediatric units, ambulatory locations (outside the hospital), emergency rooms, surgery and end-of-life scenarios.
For the safety of patients and caregivers, food is not permitted. However, flowers and gifts for well-wishes can be accepted directly to the patient's room for authorized visitors during visitation hours.
Effective October 5, visitors are subject to the following policies:*
All patients and visitors are required to wear an isolation/procedural/surgical mask upon entry to network facilities. Community will provide this mask. Personal cloth/barrier masks are permitted only when arriving and exiting, during pick-up and disposal of the isolation/procedural/surgical mask. While inside, the cloth/barrier mask must be replaced with an approved isolation/procedural/surgical mask provided by Community representatives.
- Visitors ages 14 and older only will be allowed.
- All visitors will be screened for COVID-19 exposure and symptoms, and those with symptoms will not be allowed to visit.
- Visitors should wear barrier masks from home when entering the facility. An isolation/procedural/surgical mask will be offered by our staff to replace the barrier mask for added protection for you and others. Masks are required to be worn at all times while in the facility.
- Visitors are required to use hand sanitizer upon entry.
*Exceptions may be determined upon arrival by screening teams at hospital entry points. Visitor guidelines subject to change.
Adult Inpatient Hospital Units
- Non-COVID patients are allowed visitors for a two-hour duration during two visitation periods daily from 8 to 10 a.m. and 5 to 8 p.m.
- Only two visitors are allowed during each window of visitation. Visitors may not be switched during a visitation period, and re-entry won’t be allowed if the visitor leaves during the visitation period. (Different visitors are allowed during different visitation periods, and on different days.)
- Visitors are not allowed for COVID-19 patients and persons under investigation (PUI) for possible COVID-19. The current restrictions for these patients remain in place at this time.
- Maternity patients may have one support person ONLY during the entire stay. Certified doulas are allowed in addition to the one support person.
- NICU departments will allow two parents OR assigned guardians ONLY. Open visitation hours.
- 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. More about pregnancy and delivery during COVID-19.
- Pediatric patients are allowed two parents OR assigned guardians per room. Open visitation hours.
- No visitors are allowed at most Community emergency departments. Patients will either be discharged following evaluation and treatment, or admitted, at which time the appropriate inpatient visitor policy applies.
- Minors must be accompanied by one (1) over 18 adult/parent/guardian.
- Patients with physical, cognitive, or behavioral needs/impairments may have one (1) "escort" as needed.
- Patients undergoing outpatient surgery or procedures may have one (1) designated visitor/patient escort who will be permitted to assist with the arrival and registration process if needed. This visitor may leave the facility during the procedure, remain in the waiting room, or will be contacted by phone post-procedure. If the patient is admitted as an inpatient following that, the adult inpatient visitor policies above will apply. See more about elective surgery.
- All minors, patients under the age of 18 or patients with physical, cognitive, or behavioral needs/impairments that need assistance or support are permitted one (1) patient escort (including but not limited to Power of Attorney) for the duration of their ambulatory visit (facility other than a hospital).
- To maintain social distancing, patients should come alone to their ambulatory visit unless they need assistance or want another person to hear and reinforce their care plan.
- All patients and non-patients that enter the facility are required have a mask, face-covering, or protective shield to be seen in-person. We will issue one if they do not have one.
- Oncology: A patient and one (1) patient escort may attend the new patient or new consult appointment. Decisions on a patient escort at appointments thereafter are based on the individual needs of the patient.
- Fertility: A patient and one (1) partner/support person may attend the new patient or new consult appointment.
- OB Ultrasounds: A patient and one (1) partner/support person may attend the new patient or new consult appointment.
- Pediatric Visits: If a parent or guardian does not have a safe, suitable way to care for other children during the appointment, they will be allowed to bring other children to the appointment. Families with multiple children may be moved to a patient care room to avoid crowding in the waiting room.
End of Life
- End of life visitation is allowed for visitors age 14 or over.
- For non-COVID patients:
- Unlimited time for up to 6 different people (two at a time) during last 24 hours of life.
- For COVID-19 positive or suspected patients:
- May have two hours with two (2) different visitors any time during a 24-hour period.
- Visitors are not allowed to re-enter if they leave during visitation.
- Authorized visitors will be assisted with additional personal protective equipment (PPE) for your safety.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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 or reduced. 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 take-home meal kits and temporary quarantine housing support for Community caregivers
- 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, aprons and more.
- Donate blood. COVID-19 precautions are affecting our blood supply. Our Blood Center needs 550 donors every day 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.
- Donate plasma. Community Health Network is partnering with Versiti Blood Center to spread the word about convalescent plasma donation. These donations help those seriously affected by COVID-19 to recover. Visit the link to find out if you're eligible.
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?
8/14/20: We are happy to welcome volunteers back to serve in our facilities and invite new applicants for volunteer positions. However, for everyone’s safety we ask that individuals age 65 and older, or those with serious health issues, refrain from volunteering. Get volunteer information and apply online here.
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. Wear a face mask when you are out in public. Stay home if you're sick; cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue then throw away. Be sure to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces like tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, sinks, faucets and pens.
Wear a mask properly to protect yourself and others.
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 COVID-19 cases and deaths in all 50 states, the CDC recommends that staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from getting sick. If you must travel, please consider the following to decide if it's safe or not.
- 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.
- Is COVID-19 spreading in your community? You can spread it to others unknowingly, even with no symptoms.
- Will you or your travel group be in close contact with others during the trip? Your risk of exposure increases when you are within 6 feet of others, especially in areas with little air circulation such as public transportation.
- Are you or your travel companions 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.
- 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.
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.
Remember, if you are experiencing symptoms please call before coming to a site of care.
Call your provider or 317-621-2727. 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.