Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources & Our Response


3/27/2020

During this unprecedented time of the COVID-19 public health emergency, Emerson Hospital is prepared to care for our community. Emerson is working very closely with state, local and national partners, including the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Centers for Disease Control, Partners HealthCare, local emergency responders, local skilled nursing facilities, and the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association to ensure that we continue to be best positioned to care for all patients and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Our Incident Command Team is activated around the clock. With ongoing changes in guidance from state and national authorities, this teams stays on top of every update to keep all hospital departments informed of the latest policies to care for patients. Our staff is strong and dedicated to providing the best care to patients. We continue to adjust our policies in response to COVID-19. We implemented a new visitor policy limiting access to the hospital to protect our patients and staff. We also encourage healthy individuals do not accompany a sick patient to any appointments at our outpatient offices/facilities unless absolutely necessary. 

Read a letter to the community from Emerson President & CEO Christine Schuster.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

I’m not feeling well. I'm concerned that I might have COVID-19. Should I stay home or head to the emergency department?

If you are experiencing symptoms, before coming to the hospital or urgent care, call your primary care physician, an urgent care center, or the hospital and tell them about your symptoms. Please be aware that COVID-19 testing is not available at Emerson's urgent care locations.

Your physician will give you instructions on how to get care without exposing other people to a potential illness.

  • Please know, testing is limited. Currently, high-priority patients are being tested due to the limited availability of tests. If you are generally healthy without pre-existing conditions and experiencing mild symptoms, stay home and avoid contact with others.
  • If it is determined that you require testing, you will be instructed on where to go and what to do.
  • If you’re sick, avoid contact with people; don’t leave your home unless absolutely necessary.
  • If you come to any area of the hospital and are concerned that you may have COVID-19, please ask for/wear a mask and go directly to the reception desk to speak to a staff member. Do not wait in the waiting room.

What should I do if I have an upcoming surgery or procedure?

If you have an upcoming surgery scheduled, please contact your physician’s office to determine if it needs to be postponed. Effective Thursday, March 19, Emerson is postponing elective surgeries. This decision was made with our medical staff leadership and in keeping with Governor Baker’s hospital directive. We will do everything we can to reschedule surgeries as soon as it is safe to do so.

SHOULD I CANCEL MY APPOINTMENT WITH MY DOCTOR/SPECIALIST?

If you have a scheduled appointment or have an illnes or injury and need to be seen, call your doctor. Many offices are able to utilize telemedicine for patients with health concerns. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and bring up any concerns about pain or other health issues.

Is it okay for my family members/friends to visit me in the hospital?

In addition to screening patients, we have implemented a new visitor policy. Effective Monday, March 16, for the protection of our patients and staff, no visitors will be allowed at Emerson Hospital. Some exceptions will be made to allow one healthy visitor for pediatric patients, maternity, and patients facing end of life. We understand this may be difficult, but it is necessary in order to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.

Are You at Risk?

Precautions are in place to help prevent the spread of the virus, including social distancing and limiting exposure to large groups. Those at higher risk include people who may have been exposed through travel, as well as their close contacts.

What are symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath and may appear 2-14 days after exposure.

Is there a treatment for COVID-19?

There is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 commonly treat symptoms at home with rest, fluids and other common cold/flu treatments, although some may require medical care to treat more severe symptoms.

Is COVID-19 seasonal like the flu? Will warm weather stop the outbreak?

At this time, it is not known whether the spread of COVID-19 will decrease when weather becomes warmer. Investigations are ongoing around the globe to learn more about the disease.

Should I avoid crowded areas?

Currently, the CDC recommends that people avoid large crowds, especially those at higher risk for infection, such as older adults and people with chronic medical conditions. Social distancing is encouraged. More information about social distancing can be found at the bottom of this page.

Does Emerson need blood donors during this public health emergency?

Emerson Hospital welcomes blood donors at this time. An appointment is required to maintain social distancing and prevent the spread of COVID-19. To make an appointment, please call Emerson’s Blood Donor Center at 978-287-3390. Thank you to all of our wonderful community blood donors who are vital every day, and especially during a public health emergency. Please consider sharing this message.

Prevention

The coronavirus can be spread directly between humans. There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19 and preventing exposure is the best way to avoid illness. We encourage you to take precautions to prevent exposure similar to those you would take to prevent influenza (flu), which remains widespread in Massachusetts at this time.


Follow these steps to protect yourself and others:

  • If you have not yet received a flu vaccine, get vaccinated. While the flu vaccine does not protect against COVID-19, it is still flu season and doing what you can to remain healthy is important.
  • 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.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Always wash your hands with soap and water if they are visibly dirty.
  • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
  • Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others, as well as by health care workers who are taking care of someone with COVID-19.
  • Clean your home/area with disinfectant regularly.
  • Avoid shaking hands.

Social Distancing

As a health care organization, we are continuing to work hard to ensure the safety of our community, including our patients and staff. The symptoms of COVID-19 take days to appear. This means that someone can be carrying the virus even though they do not have any symptoms. Due to this, it is very important to adhere to the recommendations of health experts, including the CDC. Social distancing during the COVID-19 public health emergency needs to be respected. This means: 

  • Do not have play dates or people over your house. Doing so creates new links and possibilities for the type of transmission that school/work/public event closures are trying to prevent.
  • Do not share food or drinks.
  • Stay home as much as possible to reduce your risk of being exposed and prevent spread.
  • To the extent possible, avoid touching high-contact surfaces in public places — elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, handshaking with people, etc. Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand or finger if you must touch something.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after touching surfaces in public places.
  • Carry hand sanitizer with you and use it regularly.
  • Avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, etc.
  • Clean and disinfect your home to remove germs: practice routine cleaning of frequently-touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks & cell phones).
We understand that following these rules will not be easy and will be uncomfortable. Adhering to these rules now can dramatically reduce the number of people infected with COVID-19. Here are some things you can do by yourself and with your immediate family members:
  • Take a walk, run, hike, or ride a bike. Our community has a bounty of outdoor trails and natural areas. Now is a great time to rediscover them.
  • Discover a new hobby, such as knitting, cooking, baking, playing board games, photography, music, art, etc.
  • Read a new book or revisit an old favorite.
  • Do yoga or meditate; there are many good videos and resources online.
  • Take an online class.
  • Call your friends, family, and loved ones!

Here are some tips for managing the mental health component of social distancing: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/managing-stress-anxiety.html.

Additional Resources