Frequently Asked Questions

Answers To Your Common Questions About COVID-19

Click on the questions for detailed answers on coronavirus and COVID-19. If the information you need is not on found on this page, call our hotline at 866-941-4785 for assistance.

  • Should I wear a facemask?

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

    COVID-19 can be spread by people who do not have symptoms and do not know that they are infected. That’s why it’s important for everyone to wear cloth face coverings in public settings and practice social distancing (staying at least 6 feet away from other people).

    Cloth face coverings should:

    • fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
    • be secured with ties or ear loops
    • include multiple layers of fabric
    • allow for breathing without restriction
    • be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape

    Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

    Homemade cloth face coverings should be routinely washed in washing machine with warm or hot water and regular detergent.

    Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth when removing your face covering and wash your hands immediately after removing.

    For more information on the proper use and maintenance of cloth face coverings, visit the CDC website.

  • What is the difference between flu symptoms and COVID-19 symptoms?

    Both COVID-19 and flu can have varying degrees of signs and symptoms, ranging from no symptoms (asymptomatic) to severe symptoms. Common symptoms that COVID-19 and flu share include:

    • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Fatigue (tiredness)
    • Sore throat
    • Runny or stuffy nose
    • Muscle pain or body aches
    • Headache

    Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

    In addition to the symptoms listed above, COVID-19 can also lead to the following. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek emergency medical attention immediately:

    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Trouble breathing
    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
    • New confusion
    • Inability to wake or stay awake
    • Bluish lips or face

    Please call the COVID Resource Center at 866-941-4785 if you have questions.

  • What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

    Coronavirus causes COVID-19, a flu-like illness whose symptoms include:

    • Fever of 100.4° or greater
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Repeated shaking with chills (rigors)
    • Sore throat
    • Cough
    • Muscle & body aches
    • New onset fatigue
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Headache
    • Difficulty breathing

    If you have difficulty breathing, please call 9-1-1 or call your local emergency department.

    If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms and were recently exposed to COVID-19, click here.

  • How is COVID-19 spread?

    The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is spread mainly from person to person.

    • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet for at least 15 minutes).
    • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice (e.g., while shouting, chanting, or singing).

    These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. They also can land on surfaces and live for several hours, so please wash your hands before touching your nose, eyes, or mouth.

    Recent studies show that a significant portion of individuals with COVID-19 lack symptoms (are “asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (are “pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.

    Elderly people, individuals with compromised immune systems, patients with heart disease or liver disease, and patients receiving immuno-suppressant therapies are at a higher risk of contracting the virus and developing more serious medical complications such as pneumonia or bronchitis.

  • Is it OK to travel?

    Please reconsider all non-essential travel. There is no definitive answer for that. COVID-19 cases and deaths have been reported in all 50 states, and the situation is constantly changing. Because travel increases your chances of getting infected and spreading COVID-19, staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from getting sick.

    If you are thinking about traveling away from your local community, ask:

    • Is COVID-19 spreading where you’re going?
    • Is COVID-19 spreading in your community?
    • Will you or those you are traveling with be within 6 feet of others during or after your trip?
    • Are you or those you are traveling with more likely to get very ill from COVID-19?
    • Do you live with someone who is more likely to get very ill from COVID-19?
    • Does the state or local government where you live or at your destination require you to stay home for 14 days after traveling?
    • If you get sick with COVID-19, will you have to miss work or school?

    International travels must keep in mind that there is widespread, ongoing transmission of novel coronavirus worldwide. If you have traveled internationally in the past 14 days, stay home and monitor your health.

    If you are planning on traveling inside or outside the US, we recommend you pay attention to CDC and US State Department travel advisories.

  • What can I do to avoid contracting COVID-19?

    The best way to prevent illness is to practice social distancing and good hand hygiene so you can avoid being exposed to COVID-19.


    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing masks or cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

    Social distancing

    Practice social distancing as a way to limit your contact with other people. Social distancing means remaining out of large crowds, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining a distance of at least six feet from others when possible.

    Good hand hygiene

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
    • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, or the time it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" twice.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash your hands with soap and water if they are visibly dirty.

    Other important ways you can prevent illness:

    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Avoid covering your coughs and sneezes with your hands. Instead, cover them with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands, or cough or sneeze into your upper arm.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • What should I do if I think I have contracted Coronavirus?

    BEFORE you go to your doctor, isolate yourself:

    • Remain calm.
    • If your symptoms are considered mild, staying at home is the safest option.
    • CALL YOUR DOCTOR FIRST to discuss your symptoms. If you need to go in, they will be prepared for you.
    • If you don’t have a doctor, please call one of these numbers to be referred to a physician
      • 844-837-2433 for the metro-Memphis area, West Tennessee and North Mississippi
      • 855-733-8863 for the for the Jackson, Mississippi, area.
      • 870-936-8000 for the Jonesboro, Arkansas, area.
    • If you prefer, a minor med or urgent care center could possibly have more timely openings. Please call ahead so they will be prepared for you.
    • If your symptoms are severe, call 911, or call your nearest emergency department before going there.

    You may also want to have an on-demand video visit or e-visit instead of an office visit. If you have a MyChart account, you don’t have to leave your home to be examined by a health care professional and get a prescription. On-demand video visits and e-visits are great options if you don’t feel well enough to get to your doctor’s office, don’t want to risk exposure to other sick patients, or are concerned about being exposed to sick patients.

    While there is no up-front cost for E-Visit or Video Visit, your session will be filed with your insurance and you may be responsible for any balance due.

    Learn more about MyChart Video Visits and E-Visits

  • What can I do to prepare for quarantine?
    • Check your prescription drugs to ensure you have a continuous supply in your home.
    • Have non-prescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes and vitamins.
    • Check your electronic health records, like your MyChart account, and store a printed version for personal reference.
    • Check in with your friends and family members regularly.
    • Prepare a household plan

    If you develop COVID-19 and are quarantined, you will need a two-week supply of food and possibly water.

  • Who is most at risk of developing serious illness due to COVID-19?

    For most individuals who contract COVID-19, the symptoms will be mild and moderate. Symptoms can be more pronounced and become severe for people who are age 60 or older, have a compromised immune system, and patients of any age with an underlying health issue such as diabetes, heart disease or lung disease.

  • Is there a vaccine or cure for COVID-19?

    There is no known cure for COVID-19, however most individuals develop mild to moderate symptoms before recovering. Elderly people, individuals with compromised immune systems, patients with heart disease or liver disease, and patients receiving immuno-suppressant therapies are at a higher risk of contracting the virus and developing more serious medical complications.

    Nor is there currently a vaccine, though medical scientists around the world are working on developing one. Moreover, numerous international health organizations and governments are working to expedite the delivery of a safe, effective vaccine by the end of this year or soon after.

  • I have recovered from COVID-19. How can I donate my plasma?

    Plasma donated by COVID-19 survivors has been used to treat patients currently sick with this virus. Have you been recently exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19? There are a few things to know before donating your plasma and whether you are eligible to do so.

    Donors must meet the following criteria:

    • Must be at least 18 years old.
    • Must provide documented confirmation of a positive COVID-19 test result.
    • Must be asymptomatic, or free of flu-like symptoms, for 14 days prior to donation.

    Interested individuals meeting these criteria must undergo a swab test and blood test to see if they have developed the appropriate antibodies. If these screens indicate you are a potential donor, you will be sent to a local blood donation center for further screening and plasma collection.

    Antibodies are usually present in recovered individuals up to 18 months after contracting COVID-19.

    If you are interested in donating plasma, please call Baptist’s Coronavirus Resource Center hotline at 866-941-4785.

  • Are younger people less likely to become ill by the coronavirus?

    When it comes to COVID-19, age does not matter. While older people and individuals with underlying health conditions are at a higher risk for contracting COVID-19, young adults and children are also very susceptible as they more inclined to ignore social distancing criteria and engage in riskier behavior. Everyone, regardless of age, should adhere to “shelter in place” and “stay at home” orders from state and local officials – and practice social distancing and good hand hygiene – to help slow the spread of the coronavirus and lessen the possibility of becoming infected themselves.

  • Can coronavirus or COVID-19 be spread through food?

    Coronaviruses is spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food, however it is possible for the packaging the food comes in to be contaminated.

    When you get home from the store, be sure to clean cans and jars with a disinfecting wipe before storing or opening them, remove bagged contents from cardboard boxes (breakfast cereals, snacks, pasta, etc.) and throw away the boxes, wash and dry produce thoroughly, and use a disinfecting wipe on juice bottles, milk jugs and other plastic containers.

    Before preparing or eating food it is important to always wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds for general food safety. Clean your countertops and cabinets regularly. Throughout the day wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, or going to the bathroom.

  • How can I support Baptist patients and employees?

    You can support our health care workers and patients by following the recommendations of the President’s office to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

    Wear a mask when you are in a public setting or around people who are not part of your household

    Listen to and follow the directions of state and local governments.

    If you feel sick, stay at home.

    If someone in your household has tested positive for the coronavirus, keep the entire family at home.

    If you are an older person, stay home and away from other people.

    If you have a serious underlying health condition, stay home and away from people.

    Work or engage in schooling from home.

    Avoid social gatherings.

    Use drive-thru, pickup or delivery options for dining.

    Avoid nonessential travel, shopping trips and social visits.

    Do not visit nursing homes or long-term care facilities.

    And remember to practice good hygiene:

    • Wash your hands, especially after touching any frequently used item or surface.
    • Avoid touching your face.
    • Sneeze or cough into a tissue or the inside of your elbow.
    • Disinfect frequently used items and surfaces as much as possible.

    If you have the means and are called to contribute financial support, please consider donating to Baptist Memorial Health Care Foundation’s COVID-19 Assistance Fund.

    COVID-19 Assistance Fund

    If you or your group wish to contribute homemade masks, personal protective equipment or food for our health care workers, please fill out our In-Kind Donation form or call the Baptist Memorial Health Care Foundation at 901-227-7123. A representative from the Foundation will contact you soon.

    We are so very grateful for the many offers of support by those in our community who want to stand up and be counted. Our dedicated doctors, nurses, caregivers and technicians have been working tirelessly, and the outpouring of support from our community has been inspirational for them.

    Thank you for your generosity.

  • How can I, my church, or my community group donate masks that we’ve made to your hospital?

    If you would like to support Baptist with an in-kind donation, such as homemade facemasks, personal protective equipment, or food for our health care workers, please fill out our In-Kind Donation form or call the Baptist Memorial Health Care Foundation at 901-227-7123. A representative from the Foundation will contact you soon. Thank you.

  • What is monoclonal antibody therapy?

    Monoclonal antibody therapy, also called monoclonal antibody infusion treatment, is used to treat COVID-19 in individuals who have tested positive for the virus and are at high risk for developing severe illness. Monoclonal antibodies are human-made antibodies that are given to patients directly through an infusion. Patients eligible for this treatment are

    • 65 years of age or older
    • 55 years or older with pre-existing conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, chronic respiratory disease, etc.
    • 12 years of age of older with pre-existing conditions such as obesity (BMI >35), Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, chronic kidney disease, a weakened immune system, or is currently receiving immunosuppressing treatment.
  • Does Baptist offer monoclonal antibody therapy?

    Yes. Baptist was the first health care system in the region to offer monoclonal antibody infusion treatment to qualified COVID-19 patients. If you have symptoms of COVID and are interested in receiving this treatment, get tested as soon as possible and call our Coronavirus Resource Center phone line at 866-941-4785 for more information.