Frequently Asked Questions
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.
How can I help the patients at Baptist and the doctors and nurses caring for them?
If you are called to help our caregivers and those afflicted by COVID-19, Baptist Memorial Health Care Foundation has created the COVID-19 Assistance Fund to support our patients and colleagues impacted by the pandemic.
By donating today, you will be partnering with us to assist those on the front lines, as well as the patients for whom they care, with various needs that may arise due to this virus.
Thank you for your generosity.
What is Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are large families of viruses that can cause illnesses such as the common cold, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). In 2019, a new coronavirus – called Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) – was identified as the cause of disease outbreak in China. This virus causes the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
What are the symptoms?
Coronavirus causes COVID-19, a flu-like illness whose symptoms include:
- Muscle/body aches
- Difficulty breathing
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.
Medical scientists are working on developing a vaccine for COVID-19, but most experts say a vaccine is one year to 18-months away.
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.
What should I do if I think I have contracted Coronavirus?
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and you’ve possibly been exposed to coronavirus, contact your doctor or your health care facility of choice right away.
If you have mild to moderate symptoms, call your doctor. Please DO NOT go to a doctor’s office for testing or treatment unless your doctor has instructed you to do so. If you don’t have a doctor, call 866-941-4785.
If you have more severe symptoms and need to go to the hospital, please call the facility and report symptoms, recent travel and possible exposure BEFORE going there.
You may also want to have an on-demand video visit or e-visit instead of an office visit. If you are a Baptist Medical Group patient in Tennessee and 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.
PLEASE NOTE: You must pay an up-front fee for on-demand video visits and e-visits. If you have to come to a health care facility to be tested after conducting an on-demand video visit or an e-visit, you will have to pay an additional fee.
How is COVID-19 spread?
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet for at least 10 minutes).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
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.
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.
Can coronavirus or COVID-19 be spread through food?
Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. Before preparing or eating food it is important to always wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds for general food safety. Throughout the day wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, or going to the bathroom.
What can I do to prepare for an outbreak in my area?
- 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.
What can I do to avoid contracting COVID-19?
The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to coronavirus or COVID-19 by a combination of good hand hygiene and Social Distancing.
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.
You may also wish to consider using 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 distance (3 feet from health people and 6 feet from sick people) from others when possible.
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.
Should I wear a facemask?
The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
Is it okay to travel?
There is no definitive answer for that; it all depends on where you are going and what you plan to do when you get there. If you are planning on traveling outside the US, we recommend you pay attention to CDC and US State Department travel advisories after new reports of outbreaks are released.
How can I/my church/my community group donate masks that we’ve made to your hospital?
Thank you for your concern for our health care team. However, we cannot accept donated handmade masks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regulates which masks and protective equipment are safe for health care workers to use, and these are not included. Fortunately, we have an adequate supply of masks for our health care team and patients at this time. You can show and share your support for our health care team by sending them positive messages online and on social media.