Navigating COVID-19
Riverside is committed to being here for you, and that means your health and safety are our priority. These FAQs are intended to answer common questions. If you have a concern that's not covered here, please reach out to Riverside Nurse 24/7 at 800-675-6368.

Is the Delta variant more contagious?

Yes, B.1.617.2, the Delta variant, is 2x more infectious than the original strain of COVID-19 discovered in China in December of 2019. Delta was identified in India a year later, in December 2020, and by the end of July 2021, it accounted for 80% of new COVID-19 infections in the United States. 

Am I at risk? 

It depends. Unvaccinated people are at the highest risk of developing severe disease or death from the Delta COVID-19 variant.

Another thing to keep in mind is that unvaccinated children and younger adults are at an increased risk against any variant, not just Delta, but this strain is impacting younger age groups more than the original COVID-19. 

Vaccines have not been approved for children 12 or younger, but a few countries are weighing options for authorization. It is anticipated that the United States will approve vaccines for children under 12 in late 2021 or early 2022.

Currently, Pfizer is the only vaccine allowed for adolescents and teenagers age 12 – 17. Minors will need to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian when receiving their vaccine.
If you would like to schedule a vaccination appointment for your child, please visit the links below. 

If you live on the Eastern Shore, please call (757) 442-6600 to schedule your vaccine appointment.

If you don't see an appointment that is convenient for you, check back. We add new appointments as we get new shipments of vaccines.

How will this strain impact case numbers in my area?

Delta is highly contagious, which means it can spread across regions very quickly. 

Which means even if you live somewhere with relatively low case numbers and low vaccination rates, Delta can spread from just one contagious person and infect the whole community. These pockets of low vaccination rates can cause hyperlocal outbreaks, which overwhelm the healthcare system and make it harder for people to obtain the care they need. 

What else do I need to know about Delta?

As this variant is rather new, there is still more to be learned about how the Delta variant impacts symptoms, hospitalization rates and breakthrough cases. 

With the rise of variants, concerns have been voiced that the vaccines currently in use are less effective against Delta.  Based on real world experience, we are seeing an increase in breakthrough cases in those that are vaccinated.  The vaccines currently available in United States continue to remain highly effective against serious illness, hospitalization and death from the Delta variant. There are current discussions on whether the COVID-19 vaccines will need a booster or a modified formulations in the future. 

How do I protect myself against this strain?

Like the other variants, full vaccination is the best protection against Delta.  

Full vaccination is defined as obtaining both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and waiting the recommended two-week period for the shots to take effect. Individuals not fully vaccinated and two weeks past the last dose should continue to mask.  

Due to the risk for breakthrough infections, the CDC recommends masking for vaccinated individuals in communities with substantial or high transmissibility when indoors or outdoors and unable to socially distance. To find the rate of transmissibility in your area, view the CDC map

If you would like to schedule a vaccination appointment, please visit the links below. 

If you live on the Eastern Shore, please call (757) 442-6600 to schedule your vaccine appointment.

If you don't see an appointment that is convenient for you, check back. We add new appointments as we get new shipments of vaccines.

Your health is a top priority of Riverside Health System. Learn more about the measures we're taking in our clinics to keep you safe. Guided by the infection prevention experts and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we have taken a number of steps and measures to ensure our facilities remain safe places for you to confidently receive care.

In order to provide you with safe, quality care through your visit, our team will be wearing masks and performing frequent hand hygiene. We will continue to require team members and visitors to wear a face covering or mask while at our patient care facilities.

Mask and face coverings must be worn while in the facility. If you do not have a face covering, we will provide you with one. Additionally, we have taken the following measures:

  • Promoting social distancing measures throughout our clinics (waiting rooms, check-in areas).
  •  Minimizing the number of patients we are seeing per day in our clinics by expanding virtual services and staggering in-person appointments.
  • Installed plexiglass shields at front desk and reception areas.
  • Wearing protective equipment while providing patient care.
  • Implementing additional sanitation processes to disinfect all equipment and surfaces.
  • Visitors with fever, cough, sore throat, or other COVID-like symptoms are not permitted in any area of our clinics unless seeking care.

Yes, all patients and visitors will be asked to wear a cloth face covering brought from home. If you do not have a mask, one will be provided to you. If you are having an outpatient procedure, we will provide you with a clean procedure mask to wear before and after surgery.

We have effective, standardized decontamination processes in place, including the use of EPA-approved virus-killing products to clean and disinfect exam rooms and high-touch areas. All our facilities follow CDC guidelines and government requirements.

Masks are required for team members in patient care facilities, starting before they enter the building, through the workday, and until they exit. Lobby and common areas have limited seating that is spaced out to support social distancing. Registration and other transactional areas have Plexiglas to minimize contact, protecting patients, visitors and team members. Providers and staff wear the appropriate personal protective equipment in line with CDC guidelines. We also provide masks to any patients or visitors who arrive without one. All staff are self-screening for COVID-19 symptoms.

Inside our offices, we are doing everything we can to support social distancing, including spacing chairs at least 6 feet apart. After registering, patients may be asked to wait in their cars, and we will call or text you when it's time to go back for your visit.

Yes, you now have the option of secure, private video visits with a primary care provider or specialist across Riverside Health System. All you need is a video-enabled device such as your smartphone or home computer. Most health insurances cover the cost associated with telehealth visits.

If you are interested in this option, contact your provider's office or call 757-534-5352. Our nurses and schedulers will help you determine the best setting of care to address your need. You can also send a video visit appointment request through MyChart. Click here to log in to MyChart.

Learn more about video visits by clicking here. 

Guidelines vary, with one visitor allowed in most hospital settings. In office settings, a family member or caregiver may be able to accompany you if they are needed for some aspect of your care. All visitors will be screened and asked to wear a face covering or mask. Please call your health care provider ahead of time to confirm visitation restrictions. Learn more here.


Patients will still undergo additional screening for COVID-19. You will also be given a procedure mask and provided with guidelines on effective hand sanitization. Hand sanitizer will be available. Wearing personal protective equipment — including masks, gowns and gloves — is business-as-usual for our surgical teams. However all other team members will also be wearing PPE in line with CDC guidelines.

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.

Yes. We are ensuring we have adequate staffing, equipment, medication and supplies so that we can continue to treat all COVID-19 patients in separate areas.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Please see our recommendations on caring for yourself and others.

Yes, there are a number of approved COVID-19 vaccines available. Please visit the COVID-19 Vaccine page for more information. 

At this time, we don't know.

You can still schedule online via MyChart or by calling your provider’s office. Click here to log in to MyChart.

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.
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.

Visitation is limited. If a family member or caregiver is necessary for some aspect of your care, they will be screened in the same way as patients. Please call your health care provider ahead of time to confirm visitation restrictions.

Learn more by visiting the CDC’s website.

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.