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COVID-19: Learning to Live with It

Thankfully, the pandemic is easing. Soon, it won't be a pandemic anymore. But COVID-19 will still be with us.

As the threat decreases and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines evolve, we’re learning how to live with it. And this means things are changing here at Cleveland Clinic.

What You Need to Know Before You Come In

Your health and safety will always be our No. 1 priority. But you’ll find we’re doing things a little differently now. From visiting loved ones to wearing masks to getting COVID testing, we have the information you need.

How You Can Help Us Stay Safe

We ask that you help us maintain a safe environment by:

Physical distancing illustration

Practicing social and physical distancing

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Wearing a mask while in our facilities (even if you're vaccinated)

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Washing and sanitizing your hands properly


While we tightened visitation at first, all of our U.S. locations have returned to open visitation. This is in line with the latest CDC guidance. Plus, studies show visitors to healthcare locations haven't contributed much to the spread.

What does this mean? We will no longer screen you for COVID symptoms when you come to a Cleveland Clinic location. And we’ll no longer have set visiting hours or limit the number of visitors a patient can have — except in some ICU settings.

What do I need to know? You will still need to wear a mask when you’re at any Cleveland Clinic facility. If you’re sick, we ask that you don’t come to visit patients. And if you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who tested positive, you’ll need to wait at least 10 days before visiting anyone.

Mask Guidelines

We realize that everywhere you go the rules are different. Depending on where you live, you may be used to running to the grocery store without a mask. And that’s OK. But as a healthcare institution, we still require that our providers, patients and visitors wear face masks in our facilities at all times — even if you're vaccinated and boosted.

You’ll need to wear a mask at any of our locations for:

  • In-person appointments.
  • Procedures without a hospital stay.
  • Emergency Department visits.
  • Accompanying someone to their appointments.
  • Visiting a patient.

If you're staying in the hospital, we strongly encourage you to wear a mask unless you have a health or behavioral condition that makes it hard for you to wear one. And if you’re visiting someone with COVID-19, we’ll have you wear not only a mask, but also eye protection, a gown and gloves.

COVID-19 Testing

COVID-19 is still here – and you can still get it. Thankfully, it’s usually more mild if you’ve been vaccinated. Whether you have non-urgent symptoms or were exposed to someone with COVID, it’s important to take a test.

  • Schedule a testing appointment. If you have a MyChart account and a Cleveland Clinic primary care provider, you can schedule to get a PCR COVID-19 test online. If you need a provider and have non-urgent symptoms, you can schedule an online virtual visit to see a provider who can order the test. We test for COVID at multiple Cleveland Clinic locations.
  • Find other testing near you. Wondering where to go for a test? The Ohio Department of Health website and the Florida Department of Health’s COVID-19 website feature maps of testing locations across both states.
  • Take a self-test. If you have private health insurance, Medicaid or Medicare, your insurer must pay for eight at-home tests each month for each person enrolled in your health plan. You can also get free self-tests at libraries, health clinics or order them through the USPS website. They’re also now easy to find at many stores.

Getting an oral antiviral medication

If you’ve tested positive for COVID-19, your symptoms started less than 5 days ago and you’d like to receive an oral antiviral medication, please schedule a virtual visit with your primary care team or one of our providers through the MyClevelandClinic® app on your smartphone or computer. The general Nurse On Call line cannot prescribe oral antivirals. You may also call 866.320.4573 to schedule.

Pre-surgical testing

When you’re scheduled for surgery or another procedure, you already have a lot on your mind. One thing you might need to do is test before surgery. Our requirements for pre-surgical COVID-19 testing have changed — for both adults and kids. If you’re age 14+ and don’t have symptoms, you’ll no longer need a COVID-19 test before surgery that requires you to stay in the hospital overnight. But if you’re scheduled for surgery and have symptoms, you still need to get a test.

Kids ages 12 to 14 without symptoms don’t need to have a COVID test if they’re not staying overnight in the hospital after their surgery or procedure.

We’re still requiring testing before some surgeries and procedures for:

  • Children ages 12 to 14 who have COVID symptoms.
  • Children under age 12 who are having a surgery or procedure but are not staying overnight in the hospital.
  • Children ages 14 and younger who will be staying overnight or admitted to the hospital.
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