Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions During COVID-19 Outbreak

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a virus strain, first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, that has only spread in people since December 2019.

Health experts are closely monitoring the situation because little is known about this new virus and it has the potential to cause severe illness and pneumonia in some people.

How does COVID-19 spread and what are the symptoms?

COVID-19 is primarily spread through respiratory droplets. That means to become infected, you generally must be within six feet of someone who is contagious and come into contact with these droplets. It may be possible to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness.

Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear two to 14 days after exposure and include:

  • Cough.
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
  • Chills.
  • Fever.
  • Muscle pain.
  • New loss of taste or smell.
  • Sore throat.

Children have similar symptoms to adults and generally have mild illness.

This list is not all inclusive. Other less common symptoms have been reported, including gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

How is COVID-19 treated?

People infected with this virus should receive supportive care such as rest, fluids and fever control, to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions. The FDA also granted an emergency use authorization for an investigational antiviral drug remdesivir for patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

Prevention

Is there a vaccine?

Currently, there is no vaccine available.

How can I best protect myself?

Practice the following:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 15-20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wear a cloth face mask to protect yourself and others when you’re out in public.
  • Practice social distancing. Maintain a 6-foot distance from other people. Avoid crowds and groups of people.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Standard household cleansers and wipes are effective in cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • It’s currently flu and respiratory disease season and CDC recommends getting vaccinated, taking everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed.

Should I wear a face mask out in public?

The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public, especially in places where it’s hard to maintain at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and another person. Cloth face masks are being recommended because we now know individuals with COVID-19 could have mild or no symptoms, while still spreading the virus to others. Wearing a cloth mask does not replace the need for physical distancing.

The cloth face coverings recommended by the CDC are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators, which should be reserved for healthcare workers and first responders.

Why should I wear a cloth mask?

The CDC recommends wearing cloth masks for the following reasons:

  • A cloth mask can help individuals cover a cough or sneeze; reducing the spread of germs.
  • A cloth mask will not prevent you from breathing in respiratory droplets which carry a virus, like COVID-19.
  • Some people with COVID-19 have mild to no symptoms, and may be spreading the virus unknowingly. Cloth masks could help cut down how far the virus spreads.
  • Cloth masks can prevent you from touching your face, and can be a visual reminder to practice social distancing.

Learn more about why it is important to wear a mask

Are pregnant women at higher risk of developing severe illness with COVID-19?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it’s not yet known whether pregnant women are more susceptible to getting COVID-19 or are likely to have more severe symptoms, compared with individuals of a similar age and health status, who aren't pregnant. However, it's still important for pregnant women to protect themselves from illnesses.

Can pregnant women with COVID-19 pass the virus to their fetus or newborn?

There are currently no studies that show evidence the virus can be passed from mother to fetus before delivery. A report in The Lancet medical journal looked at nine pregnant women in China in their third trimester with pneumonia caused by COVID-19. None of the mothers developed severe illness. Two babies did show some signs of distress, but all nine babies were born alive and fairly healthy. Additionally, they all tested negative for coronavirus. Doctors still aren’t sure how the disease might affect women and developing babies earlier in pregnancy, during the first trimester. High fevers in early pregnancy can increase the risk of some birth defects, however, little is known regarding how that affects pregnant women with COVID-19.

I have a chronic condition that puts me at high risk. How can I best protect myself?

Unfortunately, there is not yet a vaccine that can prevent COVID-19, so we cannot prevent the disease.

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is new, so we don’t yet understand exactly how it impacts specific groups of high-risk people. But, those who are thought to be most susceptible to serious complications of COVID-19 include people who:

  • Are over age 65.
  • Have cancer.
  • Have hypertension.
  • Have lung disease.
  • Have diabetes.
  • Have heart disease.
  • Have another condition that compromises the immune system.
  • Are taking medications that suppress the immune system.

But there are things you can do to minimize your risk if you have a weakened immune system or are immunocompromised.

Preparedness

What safety measures has Cleveland Clinic implemented to help ensure the safety of patients who need care?

During this unprecedented time, Cleveland Clinic has taken a number of steps to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and ensure our hospitals are safe for caregivers and patients. This includes providing appropriate personal protective equipment for caregivers, offering cloth masks to patients, visitors, caregivers and vendors, limiting access into our facilities, restricting visitation, canceling public events and performing temperature checks on everyone who enters our doors.

How is Cleveland Clinic preparing for a surge of patients with COVID-19?

We continue to see COVID-19 patients admitted throughout our health system. None of our hospitals are at or over capacity at this time.

We continue to be prepared for a potential surge of patients with COVID-19.

As part of this, Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University temporarily converted the main building on the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic into a fully functioning surge hospital to treat COVID-19 patients not requiring high levels of care but who are in need of hospitalization.

How can members of the community in Ohio help with supplies?

In response to the Northeast Ohio community’s generous requests to provide assistance during the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, Cleveland Clinic launched a COVID-19 Community Response Campaign.

Appointments & Access

Appointments & Access During COVID-19 Outbreak

I have an appointment at Cleveland Clinic and I am concerned about COVID-19. What safety measures are in place to protect me?

The safety of our patients and caregivers remains our top priority. We want to assure patients that our Cleveland Clinic facilities are safe for them to receive care.

We have taken steps to increase safety by:

  • Limiting visitors to our facilities.
  • Screening everyone for potential COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Providing essential personal protective equipment (PPE) for caregivers.
  • Practicing physical distancing.
  • Expanding testing capabilities.
  • Continuing to clean and disinfect surfaces frequently.
  • Requiring our caregivers to wear cloth masks while at work.
  • Strongly recommending patients and permitted visitors wear cloth masks at our facilities.

If you’re unsure about keeping your appointment, contact your physician’s office to see if other options are available.

Our clinicians are meeting regularly to closely monitor this evolving situation. If you have a fever, cough, diarrhea or shortness of breath, or are otherwise concerned you have COVID-19, we ask you do not come to any Cleveland Clinic facility. Start with a virtual visit using Cleveland Clinic Express Care® Online, an eVisit questionnaire in MyChart or call your primary care physician. Patients will then be evaluated to determine if they require being seen in person or if they meet CDC guidelines for COVID-19 testing based on symptoms, travel and exposures. If a patient meets criteria for testing, their provider or primary care physician will advise them with next best steps.

What are Cleveland Clinic’s mask guidelines?

As we learn more about COVID-19 and its transmission, we are adapting our practices in order to provide the safest care to our patients and protect our caregivers. In alignment with guidelines from the CDC and direction from our state and local governments, we are now requiring all caregivers in all our locations to wear face masks in areas where Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is not required.

Cloth masks are strongly recommended for patients and visitors/companions. Patients and permitted visitors will be given a mask to wear the entire time they are in our facilities. They may choose to bring their own masks from home. Wearing cloth face masks are not only an effort to protect yourself, they also help protect others.

I have an appointment at Cleveland Clinic. What do I need to bring?

Please bring your appointment reminder with you (email, MyChart or text message). When entering any Cleveland Clinic location, you and any permitted visitors (see visitor restrictions) will be screened for potential COVID-19 symptoms, including a temperature scan. You’ll be asked to sanitize your hands and be given a cloth mask to wear the entire time during your visit. You can also bring your own mask from home.

When is Cleveland Clinic resuming appointments, and how will I know if my scheduled surgery or procedure changes?

For Ohio and Florida: Beginning May 4, we’re resuming outpatient appointments, surgeries and procedures that were paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In, Ohio we will also add more surgeries and procedures to those we were still performing under the Ohio Department of Health guidelines to include those needed for patients who are having severe symptoms that impact their daily life. In Florida, we will also add surgeries and procedures to those we were still performing under the Florida Department of Health guidelines that were deemed medically necessary.

If your appointment or procedure was delayed, we'll reach out to you to reschedule. You can also visit our Appointments & Access page for up-to-date information.

If you have a surgery or procedure scheduled that will be performed in any of our ambulatory surgery centers or operating rooms, you will be tested for COVID-19 beforehand.

If you’re diagnosed with COVID-19, only an urgent or emergency procedure will be performed due to increased health risks.

Can I bring someone with me to my scheduled appointment?

For Ohio and Florida: At this time, no guests or visitors are permitted to accompany adult patients, unless special assistance is required.

Pediatric patients, elderly patients and those with special needs are permitted to bring no more than one guest. No more than two guests will be permitted per family or group.

Visitors who are sick, have a fever, or a confirmed case of COVID-19 should not visit or accompany a patient.

Visitors must wash their hands (or use sanitizer) before and after entering clinical areas and waiting rooms.

I have a procedure scheduled at Cleveland Clinic’s main campus. Are food options and transportation services still available? If so, what safety measures are in place?

Yes. Our dining and transportation services are taking great lengths to ensure patients can still use them safely and easily, including expanded cleaning and safety procedures, masks for all Cleveland Clinic employees and ensuring patients and visitors are practicing social and physical distancing. Currently, we do have limited hours and options at some of our main campus eateries.

Are all Cleveland Clinic emergency departments open?

Yes, all Cleveland Clinic emergency departments remain open for care. We encourage the public to seek immediate medical attention for symptoms that suggest serious medical emergencies, such as stroke or heart attack. All patients coming to our emergency departments are screened for COVID-19 symptoms and are provided a mask to help maintain the health and safety of our patients and caregivers and prevent the spread of the virus. Any patients with COVID-19 symptoms are taken to a designated area within the emergency department for care.

How are pediatric hospital services affected?

After a brief suspension in services to prepare for a potential surge in adult patients with COVID-19, Cleveland Clinic Children’s is resuming pediatric inpatient care at Hillcrest Hospital. Pediatric inpatient care at Fairview Hospital remains temporarily suspended. As we continue to adapt to this evolving public health issue, Cleveland Clinic will work to resume services with a staged approach.

Any pediatric patients who require inpatient services will be admitted at either the Children’s Inpatient Hospital at Cleveland Clinic’s main campus or Hillcrest Hospital.

The pediatric emergency departments, newborn nurseries and neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) at Fairview and Hillcrest hospitals have remained open, as has the pediatric psychiatry unit at Fairview. Full pediatric care will also continue at Cleveland Clinic Children’s main campus and Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital for Rehabilitation.

Visitor Restrictions

Visitor Restrictions During Covid-19 Outbreak

Ohio Inpatient Locations

For all hospital locations in Ohio, we are restricting all visitors. Exceptions are being made for the following patients:

Pediatric patients: One parent each day during their hospital stay.

Change in condition for emergency patients:

  • Patients who are COVID-19 positive or under investigation for COVID-19: A single visitor outside the room during hospital stay.
  • Patients who are COVID-19 negative: A single visitor during hospital stay.

Patients who have been admitted in an emergency situation: One visitor during hospital stay.

Life-changing diagnosis: One visitor during hospital stay.

Patients being discharged from the hospital:

  • Patients who are COVID-19 positive or under investigation for COVID-19: One person pick-up.
  • Patients who are COVID-19 negative: One visitor and one person to pick-up.

Labor & Delivery: One visitor during labor

End-of-life circumstances:

  • Pediatrics: Two parent (or guardian) visitors for end of life, and one non-parent visitor during hospital stay.
  • Adult: One visitor during hospital stay.

Surgery requiring an overnight stay: A single visitor on the day-of surgery and a single visitor on the day after surgery.

Please note: A visit is being defined as having one, single visitor in the patient’s room during visiting hours. The visitor may not leave and later re-enter the room.

We will temperature screen all visitors prior to entering our facilities, as well as ask them to respect social distancing and practice hand hygiene.

All visitors are strongly encouraged to wear masks at all times while inside our facilities. Permitted visitors may bring their own mask from home, or masks will be provided to them upon entering our facilities. Visitors to patients with COVID-19 must wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Ohio Outpatient Locations

For all family health centers, medical office buildings and physician offices, no guests or visitors are permitted to accompany adult patients unless special assistance is required, or if your provider has asked you to bring a responsible adult to your appointment or procedure (this includes all infusion treatments). Social distancing must be maintained in these areas.

Special assistance can include, but is not limited, to:

  • Drivers for ambulatory procedures.
  • Support person to manage a wheelchair or other special needs.
  • Individual to help provide life changing diagnosis information.
  • Cloth masks are strongly recommended for patients and visitors/companions.

Pediatric patients, elderly patients, patients with cancer and those with special needs are permitted to bring no more than one guest.

Visitors who are sick, have a fever, or a confirmed case of COVID-19 should not visit or accompany a patient.

Visitors must sanitize their hands before and after entering clinical areas and waiting rooms. Visitors must be over 18, wear a cloth mask, and be fever- and symptom-free.


Florida Inpatient Locations

For all hospital locations in Florida, we are restricting all visitors. Exceptions will be made for the following patients:

  • Pediatric patients: One visitor.
  • Labor & Delivery patients: One visitor.
  • Surgery requiring an overnight stay: One visitor.
  • End-of-life circumstances: The patient’s care team will discuss visitation with their family.

Please note: A visit is being defined as having one, single visitor in the patient’s room during visiting hours. The visitor may not leave and later re-enter the room.

All other visitors will be asked to leave the hospital. As we continue to navigate the best ways to contain the spread of COVID-19, we understand these changes are difficult and appreciate your patience and understanding.

Florida Outpatient Locations

For all family health centers, medical office buildings and physician offices, no guests or visitors are permitted to accompany adult patients unless special assistance is required, or if your provider has asked you to bring a responsible adult to your appointment or procedure (this includes all infusion treatments).

Special assistance can include, but is not limited, to:

  • Drivers for ambulatory procedures.
  • Support person to manage a wheelchair or other special needs.
  • Individual to help provide life changing diagnosis information.
  • Cloth masks are strongly recommended for patients and visitors/companions.

Pediatric patients, elderly patients, patients with cancer and those with special needs are permitted to bring no more than one guest.

Visitors are allowed to accompany oncology patients, unless they are going to the infusion center.

Visitors who are sick, have a fever, or a confirmed case of COVID-19 should not visit or accompany a patient.

Visitors must sanitize their hands before and after entering clinical areas and waiting rooms. Visitors must be over 18, wear a cloth mask, and be fever- and symptom-free.

Testing

Testing Information During COVID-19 Outbreak

What patients are being prioritized for drive-up testing?

COVID-19 testing will focus on high-risk patients. These are symptomatic patients who also have one of the following criteria:

  • 61 & older.
  • Under 36 months.
  • On immunosuppressive therapy.
  • End-stage renal disease and are on dialysis.
  • Coronary artery disease.
  • Heart failure reduced ejection fraction.
  • Lung disease.
  • Contact with a known COVID-19 patient.
  • HIV/AIDS.
  • Solid organ transplants.

These patients will continue to be tested at Cleveland Clinic drive-up testing sites with a Cleveland Clinic physician’s order.

What if I am not a high-risk patient and need to receive testing?

For patients aged 3 – 60, who already have a Cleveland Clinic physician’s order, we are re-evaluating our ability to provide COVID-19 testing. We are asking them to not report to the testing facilities until they are contacted by Cleveland Clinic with further instructions.

I have a scheduled surgery or procedure and was told I need a COVID-19 test before my appointment. How do I get one?

All patients with scheduled surgeries or procedures taking place in a Cleveland Clinic ambulatory surgery center or operating room will be tested for COVID-19. They’ll be tested three days, or 72 hours, prior to their surgery or procedure date. When a surgery or procedure is scheduled, a COVID-19 test will also be ordered.

We have several testing locations, throughout Northeast Ohio and Florida, designated for patients who have an upcoming surgery or procedure. We will work with the patient to schedule an appointment at a location and time most convenient for them.

What should I expect when I arrive for my pre-surgical COVID-19 testing appointment?

When entering our facilities, you’ll be screened for potential COVID-19 symptoms including a temperature scan. You will be asked to sanitize your hands and will be provided a mask. We strongly recommend you wear the mask during your entire visit. You may also choose to bring your own mask from home.

We’ve adjusted our buildings and waiting areas to encourage physical and social distancing, including adding space in between seating to protect all patients. If a visitor is accompanying the patient, they may be asked to wait outside the building or at an alternate location within the building. This is for everyone’s safety and we will ensure the surgical team is able to contact them.

Can I get a COVID-19 test at another, non-Cleveland Clinic location for my surgery or procedure?

Yes, outside testing is accepted but all patients must have written documentation of their test and results that adhere to the three-day, or 72-hour, testing window.

What steps should I take between the day of my test and my scheduled surgery or procedure to prevent being infected with COVID-19?

Following testing for COVID-19, we suggest patients isolate themselves at home. We recommend patients limit contact with other household members. When this is not possible, please maintain appropriate safety measures including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 15-20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Practice social and physical distancing by staying 6 feet away from others.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public, especially in places where it’s hard to maintain at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and another person. Cloth face masks are being recommended because we now know individuals with COVID-19 could have mild or no symptoms, while still spreading the virus to others. Wearing a cloth mask doesn’t replace the need for physical distancing.
  • Use standard household cleansers and wipes to effectively clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

How long will results from a COVID-19 test take?

For patients in the hospital, and those tested in our Emergency Departments who are considered very ill or at risk, results are available within 24 hours (on average).

For patients being tested at our drive-thru facility or a pre-surgical testing location, results are available on average within a few days. Patients are asked to remain at home until their test results are released. Once processed, COVID-19 test results are now available immediately in a patient’s MyChart, our secure online health management tool.

Cleveland Clinic caregiver taking a swab for COVID-19 test
A Cleveland Clinic caregiver will ask you to roll down your window and tilt your head back slightly, so they can swab the back of your nose and throat.

Ohio Testing

Cleveland Clinic is providing drive-up COVID-19 testing for patients in Ohio with a Cleveland Clinic electronic doctor’s order.

Drive-Up Testing Locations

On-site testing is located in the garage of the W.O. Walker Building at Cleveland Clinic's main campus, and at Cleveland Clinic's Akron General Health and Wellness Center in Green. Testing is open 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., seven days a week.

Please Note: A Cleveland Clinic electronic provider’s order is required for COVID-19 testing.

Directions to Drive-Up Testing Locations:

W.O. Walker Building
10524 Euclid Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44195
Patients should enter the garage from E. 105th St.

Akron General Health and Wellness Center, Green
1940 Town Park Blvd.
Uniontown, OH 44685

Florida Testing

Cleveland Clinic is providing drive-up COVID-19 testing for patients in Florida. Individuals must have an appointment in order to be tested.

Drive-Up Testing Locations

On-site testing is located at the Krupa Center at Cleveland Clinic Florida's main campus in Weston, Martin North Hospital in Stuart, Tradition Hospital in Port St. Lucie and Indian River Hospital in Vero Beach. We are also now providing testing at South County Civic Center in Delray Beach.

Please Note: An appointment from Cleveland Clinic Florida is required for COVID-19 testing.

What is the process for getting tested?

Only patients with an appointment will be seen at the drive-through testing. Patients should start by calling our nurse triage hotline to schedule their appointment for testing:

  • 954.659.5951 - Cleveland Clinic Weston Hospital
  • 772.419.3360 - Martin Health (Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Saturday - Sunday, 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.)
  • 772.226.4846 - Indian River Hospital (9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Daily)
  • 561.804.0250 – South County Civic Center (7 a.m. - 7p.m., Daily)

The caller will be screened by a nurse who will determine if they meet criteria for testing.

Patients who meet criteria for COVID-19 testing will be given an appointment and directed to the testing location. Anyone over the age of 16 who has a fever and respiratory illness (such as cough, runny nose, sneezing) or any patient with a fever and gastrointestinal illness (such as diarrhea, vomiting) is eligible for testing.

When patients arrive at the drive-through, they will first have their temperature taken. Patients who do not have a fever will NOT be tested.

Directions and Hours for Drive-Up Testing Locations:

Krupa Center
3250 Meridian Parkway
Weston, Florida 33331

Testing Hours:
Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Martin North Hospital
200 SE Hospital Ave.
Stuart, Florida 34994

Testing Hours:
Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Saturday – Sunday, 9 a.m. 1 p.m.

Martin Health at St. Lucie West
1095 NW St. Lucie West Blvd.
Port St. Lucie, Florida 34986

Testing Hours:
Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Saturday – Sunday, 9 a.m. 1 p.m.

Indian River Hospital
1000 36th Street
Vero Beach, Florida 32960

Testing Hours:
Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

South County Civic Center
16700 Jog Road
Delray Beach, FL 33446

Testing Hours:
8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday – Friday
8 a.m. – 12 p.m., Saturday

Affected Services

Affected Services During COVID-19 Outbreak

Ohio

Services currently suspended until further notice:

Locations with services or hours currently affected:

Events or classes cancelled or postponed:

Eatery and food service changes:

Florida

Services currently suspended until further notice:

Locations with services currently suspended until further notice:

Events or classes cancelled or postponed:

Eatery and food service changes:

Other Locations

Services currently suspended until further notice: