microscopic view of coronavirus

What You Need to Know About COVID-19

Many questions have come up from patients, caregivers and members of the community as cases of COVID-19 emerge. We want to help alleviate your concerns by answering common questions about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). 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.

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, but I'm not sure if I need to be tested. 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 the coronavirus at your hospitals?

In an attempt to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), influenza and other infectious diseases to protect patients and employees, Community Health Network is tightening 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.

Exceptions will be considered in the following areas where a patient may receive one visitor per room:

  • OB & NICU
  • End of life scenarios

Please note our OB & NICU visitor guidelines

  • 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.

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

Anyone with concern that they may have acquired or been exposed to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) should call the numbers provided in our notice (at the top of the website) to get important information and ensure they get the best care possible BEFORE visiting a site of care.

Which locations and services have been suspended for now?

For the health and safety of our patients and caregivers, certain locations and services have been temporarily suspended. Please 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.

Is Community restricting travel for their employees/canceling events?

Yes. Community Health Network feels there is not an essential need for work related travel. We are cancelling meeting travel related to work. We want to assure that our caregivers stay as healthy as possible. We also want our caregivers and leaders to be able to serve if we are to get an influx of patients. We cannot ask caregivers to cancel personal travel. If an employee travels to a high alert country they will be asked to quarantine themselves for 14 days.

For the time being, all Community-sponsored gatherings that are educational in nature, including patient education, will be suspended unless you are told otherwise. We are working to reschedule virtually if possible. For gatherings that must still take place, please note the following:

  • We encourage those over 60 years of age or those who have significant health issues to avoid the gathering altogether.
  • There will be space that provides at least 3 feet of space between individuals for social distancing.
  • All attendees will be screened at the beginning of each meeting by the leader using protocols shared by the CDC and ISDH. 
  • All attendees must wash hands prior to entering.

Are there any new 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.

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.

What happens if a Community caregiver has recently traveled? What precautions are in place to protect patients and other caregivers?

If a caregiver has recently traveled or been within a CDC-required quarantine zone, such as Zone 2 or Zone 3, the caregiver is required to quarantine for everyone’s safety. The entire US is now considered to be a Zone 2, so we have aligned our policies with the CDC’s recommendation.

I am a volunteer at Community Health Network. Are there any restrictions I need to be aware of?

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. We’ll continue to provide updates on this matter.

What do people need to know about coronavirus (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.

How can I talk to my kids about the coronavirus (COVID-19)?

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 coronavirus and children here. For more information on how to talk to your kids about COVID-19, please visit one of the following links:

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? What should I do to prepare?

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.

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.

If I have just returned from a high risk area, what should I do next?

To slow the spread of the virus, we ask that you work with the State Health Department to arrange after-travel precautions. Please see the list of countries at a Level 3 Travel Health Notice, meaning they have widespread, ongoing transmission.

Stay home for 14 days from the time you left an area with ongoing community spread. Take these precautionary steps from the CDC to monitor your health:

  • Stay home and avoid contact with others. Do not go into work or school for a 14-day period. Please discuss your health situation with your employer before returning to work.
  • Take your temperature with a thermometer twice daily to watch for fever. Also watch for a cough or trouble breathing.
  • Do not take public transportation during the time that you practice social distancing.
  • Avoid crowded places.
  • Keep a distance from others when possible. If you can, maintain a distance of 6 feet or 2 meters.

If you begin to develop symptoms, stay at home and call the numbers provided in our alert at the top of the website.

Governor Holcomb recently announced additional directives for Indiana residents. What are the new restrictions for our community?

Indiana is following the CDC’s guidelines on large events and gatherings. The guidance recommends no in-person events of more than 50 people.

Bars, nightclubs and restaurants are required to close in-person service and may continue with take-out and delivery services through the end of March.

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.