Currently, we are offering COVID-19 TESTING by appointment at our Baptist clinics. Please note you may experience longer wait times due to high volume when calling our clinics. Check back for further updates.

Coronavirus Resource Center

As issues surrounding the coronavirus continue to develop, Baptist Memorial Health Care wants you to have all the information you need about the virus and how you can protect yourself and your loved ones.

Coronavirus has arrived in the United States and hospitals across the nation, including Baptist Memorial hospitals, are instituting their infectious disease protocols to help ensure the health and safety of patients and employees. While the coronavirus outbreak in the US is likely to continue for some months, the medical experts and highly trained staff at Baptist are ready to meet the challenge.

  • Since January, we have been screening all patients to determine if they are at risk for coronavirus. If they answer yes to any question, we immediately isolate them.
  • Our electronic health record links directly to the CDC’s travel alert system, which helps us screen for all emerging infectious diseases, including coronavirus.
  • We have daily meetings in our hospitals and on the system level, and weekly meetings with all our facilities, to make sure our plans are aligned.
  • We have personal protective equipment, and we’re conducting refresher training with our staff on how to use it.
  • We have more than 100 negative pressure rooms system-wide for contagious patients to contain their illness.
  • We’ve posted signage in all our hospitals and physician offices asking patients to tell a staff member immediately if they have flu-like symptoms.
  • We ask patients to put on a mask immediately if they have flu-like symptoms to help prevent the spread of illnesses.

While the risk of contracting coronavirus in the Baptist footprint of Central and North Mississippi, Northeast Arkansas and West Tennessee – including the Memphis metro area – is low, we strongly encourage taking precautions to avoid contracting and spreading the virus.

On this page, you can learn more about coronavirus, preventive and protective measures you can take, and what to do if you suspect you might have it.

Baptist Memorial Health Care

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?

SARS-CoV-2 is an influenza-like illness (ILI) that has many of the same symptoms as the common cold. Symptoms include:

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Congestion
  • Fever (sometimes)
  • Muscle and/or body aches
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue

What should I do if I think I have contracted coronavirus?

Contact your doctor or your health care facility of choice right away if you have symptoms and you’ve possibly been exposed to the virus. Call before going to the facility and report symptoms, recent travel and possible exposure.

You may also want to consider scheduling a telemedicine appointment instead of an office visit. Using your MyChart app, you can schedule and perform an on-demand video visit or an e-visit with your doctor 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, and if you need to come to a health care facility to be tested, you will have to pay an additional fee.

How is coronavirus spread?

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person to person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • 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.

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.

Fever or flu-like symptoms (e.g. cough or difficulty breathing) AND Any person who has had close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient within 14 days of symptom onset
Fever and flu-like symptoms (e.g., cough or difficulty breathing) requiring hospitalization AND A history of travel from affected geographic areas within 14 days of symptom onset
Fever with severe acute lower respiratory illness (e.g., pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome) requiring hospitalization and without alternative diagnosis (e.g., influenza) AND No source of exposure has been identified

What can I do to prepare for an outbreak in my area?

  • Store a two-week supply of food and water.
  • 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.

What can I do to avoid contracting the disease?

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, there are many everyday preventive actions you can take to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, beginning with 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 hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

Other important ways you can prevent illness:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Should I wear a facemask?

The Center for Disease Control 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 since 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 travel advisories from the CDC and US State Department being issued regularly when new reports of outbreaks are released.

Other Resources

New information is continuously being distributed by the Center for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization. We recommend you visit their websites on a regular basis as well for the latest information and updates.

Corona Virus Prevention

  • Avoid people who have flu-like symptoms
  • Reassess travel plans based on CDC recommendations
  • Wash your hands frequently and properly
  • Don’t touch your face, nose or eyes
  • Don’t expose others if you have flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, muscle/body aches, difficulty breathing)
  • Cover your cough

Coronavirus Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Muscle/body aches
  • Difficulty breathing

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