We all still have a lot of questions about the novel coronavirus also known as COVID-19. Riverside's top priority is to support the health and safety of our community, patients, residents and our own team members. We continue to follow the guidance of the CDC during the evolving COVID-19 situation.

Why is Riverside asking everyone to wear face coverings when they come in for care and service?
The evidence increasingly shows that some people who do not have symptoms can spread the virus to others. As restrictions are lifted, it will be important to wear face coverings to protect those around us, especially in situations where it may be harder to stay 6 feet apart from others at all times. Riverside will ask everyone who comes to us for care and service to wear a mask. If you don’t have a face covering, one will be provided for you.

Why can't I bring someone in with me?
To maintain social distancing standards, we are continuing to restrict visitation. If someone accompanies you to an appointment or for an urgent need, they can remain in the car. We will make every effort to involve your loved ones in your care as directed by you. This could involve conferencing them in by phone to discuss your discharge instructions, or helping you set up online video calls to stay in touch while you’re in the hospital.

What precautions is Riverside taking to stop COVID-19?
Our precautions include:

  • Asking everyone to wear a face covering.
  • Screening all patients and staff for COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Restricting visitation.
  • Frequent cleaning and sanitizing.
  • Maintaining social distancing during the check-in process and as patients wait to be seen.
  • Providing personal protective equipment for team members as recommended by the CDC.

Is it safe for Riverside to perform elective surgeries?
Yes. We have continued to safely perform urgent and emergent surgeries during the pandemic. We have always had processes in place to protect our team and our patients from exposure to infections. This includes personal protective equipment and frequent and thorough cleaning and sanitizing.

Why can't my surgery be done sooner?
We have developed guidelines, with input from our providers, to determine how surgeries will be rescheduled. Our focus is the safety and well-being of our patients. If you have a concern, please reach out to your provider.

Does Riverside have enough personal protective equipment?
Yes. We have never run out of PPE, and through this pandemic we have developed increasingly sophisticated processes for monitoring supplies to ensure we can continue offering protection in line with all CDC recommendations.

Will all patients be tested before procedures?
No. We do not feel this is necessary since we are taking so many precautions to prevent the spread of any potential infection, including screening all patients for symptoms and providing personal protective equipment as recommended by the CDC. There are also concerns about the accuracy of the COVID-19 testing that's currently available. 

What is a coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that can cause a range of symptoms including a runny nose, cough, sore throat and fever. Some are mild, such as the common cold, while others are more likely to lead to pneumonia. They're usually spread through direct contact with an infected person. Other well-known coronaviruses include SARS and MERS. The new virus is called COVID-19.

How does COVID-19 spread from person to person?
The evidence suggests person-to-person transmission most commonly happens during close exposure to a person infected with COVID-19, primarily through respiratory droplets produced when the infected person coughs or sneezes. Droplets can land in the mouths, noses or eyes of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs of those within close proximity. Airborne transmission from person-to-person over long distances is unlikely.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Once infected with coronavirus, there is an incubation period of 2-14 days. During this time, patients may be able to shed the virus but do not have any symptoms. Some patients will never develop symptoms. Of those who become ill, the majority of patients will develop fever, cough, and generalized malaise. They may have muscle aches or a sore throat. Most patients will recover, but some patients will develop more severe illness, including a viral pneumonia that can lead to respiratory failure and even death. Symptoms to watch for include fever, cough, shortness of breath, trouble breathing, body aches, sore throat or vomiting.

How do we determine when to test for COVID-19?
Testing may be appropriate if there are symptoms such as fever or signs of lower respiratory illness — ranging from cough or shortness of breath to more severe presentations such as pneumonia or ARDS without an alternative explanatory diagnosis. Testing is not being done because patients request it, but only if there is clinical and epidemiological criteria. Testing is not appropriate for anyone who is not showing symptoms, regardless of any other factors.

Is there a treatment?
There is no approved treatment for COVID-19. The focus is currently on supportive care, although efforts are underway to develop effective treatments.

Do people who are showing typical symptoms of COVID-19 need to be put in the hospital?
No, most people will not need hospital care. Most people will recover at home under self-quarantine. If symptoms substantially worsen, contact your doctor for guidance.

What do I need to do if someone I care for may have COVID-19?
Please see our recommendations on caring for yourself and others.

Is there a COVID-19 vaccine?
No, although efforts are underway to develop a vaccine.

Can someone get COVID-19 multiple times in a season?
At this time, we don't know.

Are there other health conditions that put a person at higher risk if they develop COVID-19? Is there anything special these people need to know about avoiding COVID-19?
Health conditions that put a person at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 include heart disease, diabetes and lung disease. The CDC is advising people who are at higher risk to stay home if possible. Clean your hands often. Wash with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If you have no access to soap and water, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Avoid close contact (6 feet, which is about two arm lengths) with people who are sick.

Do disinfectants kill COVID-19?
The CDC suggests that anyone exposed to an infected patient clean all high-touch surfaces, such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables.

I want to help in some way. What can I do?
We're thankful to have such a supporting and giving community. We have suggestions for how you can help and also ideas for donation of supplies.

Where can I get more information?
Learn more by visiting the CDC’s website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

If you have questions, reach out to your doctor's office or contact Riverside Nurse, a 24/7 resource, at 757-595-6363.