COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

En Español – Spanish

Em Português – Portuguese

Getting Safe Care at Nuvance Health

What’s Nuvance Health doing to ensure a healthy and safe environment for patients and staff as our communities reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Safety measures, such as social distancing, have helped slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. As a result, our hospitals and communities are observing a decrease in the rate of new COVID-19 infections. We can safely resume more procedures, surgeries, and routine healthcare for our patients, following state and federal government guidelines. We understand you may be concerned about possible exposure to COVID-19 as you return to our hospitals and medical offices. Rest assured — safe care is our top priority, now and always. Please expect these positive changes during your next visit to a Nuvance Health hospital or medical office:

  • Screening Protocols: Patients will be pre-screened for COVID-19 risk factors over the phone before their appointment. Patients and staff will be screened before entering any Nuvance Health facility. All surgical patients will require a pre-surgery COVID-19 test.
  • Check-In/Out Processes: To limit the number of people in our facilities and ensure proper social distancing, patients may be asked to wait in their vehicles until their appointment begins, or in waiting areas with fewer chairs set more than 6 feet apart. Pre-registration and follow-up appointments will be done by phone.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Face masks will be worn by patients, approved visitors, and staff. Clinical staff may also wear additional PPE including face shields, head coverings, gloves, or surgical gowns.
  • Infection Prevention: Stringent cleaning and disinfecting of our facilities will take place through the day with a deep clean daily.

For more information, please visit nuvancehealth.org/safecare.

Is it safe to see my doctor for routine healthcare?

We’re here for all of your healthcare needs. Please call your doctor to schedule an appointment if you need non-emergency medical attention. While the above protocols are in place to keep you safe during your in-person visit, Nuvance Health also offers Virtual Visits so you can have a remote consultation with your doctor using a computer or mobile device. For more information, to schedule an appointment, or to find a doctor, visit nuvancehealth.org/virtualvisits.

Is it safe to go to the hospital if I’m experiencing a medical emergency?

Please don’t delay emergency care if you’re experiencing signs of heart attack, stroke, or another health concern that may require immediate attention. Signs of an emergency include: trouble breathing; persistent pain or pressure in the chest; new confusion or inability to wake up; or bluish lips or face. Our emergency departments have strict protocols in place to keep patients who need emergency care safe, such as cohorting and separation of patients according to symptoms.

What’s the visitor policy at Nuvance Health?
We’re continuing to reevaluate our visitation policy as conditions change. Anyone planning to visit a Nuvance Health hospital should review the full visitation policy first so they can determine if they meet criteria for visiting and best prepare for their visit.

For the latest information, please visit nuvancehealth.org/coronavirus to review the full visitation policy including specific details for Danbury Hospital, New Milford Hospital, Norwalk Hospital, and Sharon Hospital in Connecticut; and Northern Dutchess Hospital, Putnam Hospital, and Vassar Brothers Medical Center in New York.

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions — Patients

En Español – Spanish

Em Português – Portuguese

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a new type of coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans. Coronavirus is a family of viruses that can cause respiratory illnesses such as the common cold, and have at times caused more severe respiratory illnesses such as SARS and MERS. While there’s much to be learned about COVID-19 because it’s so new, we have experience dealing with other novel and emerging infectious diseases.

How long will my symptoms last?

People with COVID-19 have reported a wide range of symptoms ranging from mild to severe, including but not limited to: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea. This list is not all inclusive. Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus, and how long they last varies per person and depend on the severity of the illness.

What can I expect while I’m in the hospital?

Your care team

If you’ve been hospitalized for COVID-19, please know we’re well-prepared to care for you and we’re here for you. A hospitalist or intensivist (your lead physician) will see you in-person daily. Your care team will also include a nurse, a case manager to help coordinate all of your care, and a lung or infection specialist if needed. You may also be seen virtually by other care team members if further consultations are necessary.

Your care team will meet every day to discuss your progress and address any changes in your care that may be needed. They will wear personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, face shields, gowns, and gloves for your protection and theirs.

Treatment and procedures

Your care team will determine the appropriate treatment plan for you and keep you informed every step of the way. You may need lab work done, which may not be every day.

Can I have visitors while I’m in the hospital?

We’re continuing to reevaluate our visitation policy as conditions change. Your care team will review the latest visitation policy with you and your loved ones. Your care team will also help you stay connected with your loved ones using technology and other forms of communication. For the latest information, please visit nuvancehealth.org/coronavirus to review the full visitation policy including specific details for Danbury Hospital, New Milford Hospital, Norwalk Hospital, and Sharon Hospital in Connecticut; and Northern Dutchess Hospital, Putnam Hospital, and Vassar Brothers Medical Center in New York.

When can I leave the hospital?

Your care team will determine when you’re well enough to leave the hospital safely. They will review your progress daily and look for improvements in your symptoms. For example: Has your fever gone down? Has your breathing improved? Are your vital signs stable?

Before leaving the hospital, your care team will review what you need to do to continue protecting yourself and others. This may include self-quarantining and monitoring your symptoms.

Depending on your specific situation, you’ll either be able to go home and continue healing on your own, or your care team may recommend home care services with a visiting nurse. Some patients may need to go to a rehabilitation center after leaving the hospital. Other factors that may determine if you can return home include your ability to self-quarantine if living with others and your ability to do self-care.

What can I expect after I leave the hospital?

Schedule a Virtual Visit

To ensure your safety and to address any ongoing questions you may have, you will be offered a telemedicine visit with your primary care doctor or a specialist. Your care team will provide you more information about Nuvance Health Virtual Visits. To learn more, you can also visit nuvancehealth.org/virtualvisits.

Monitor your health

Call your primary care doctor if your symptoms recur or worsen. Go to the emergency department or call 911 if you need emergency care. Before arriving to the emergency department, please call ahead to tell them you tested positive for COVID-19. Signs you need emergency care include trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to wake up, and bluish lips or face.

Contact your local health department

COVID-19 is a public health concern, which is why local health departments are tracking COVID-19 information. Before leaving the hospital, you’ll be provided the phone number for your local department of health. It’s important for you to contact them when you arrive home for further monitoring. Additionally, your case manager will follow up with you within 48 hours after you’ve been discharged from the hospital.

Where can I go for more information?

We understand how unsettling these times are, and we are here for you. Please call your doctor if you have specific medical questions about your health. Please also stay informed with accurate facts from trusted sources:

  • Call your trusted Nuvance Health primary care practice. At Nuvance Health, you can schedule a Virtual Visit and have a remote consultation with a healthcare clinician.
  • For general questions or concerns, call the Nuvance Health COVID-19 Community Hotline at 1-888-667-9262.
  • For information regarding Connecticut, visit gov/coronavirus or call 211.
  • For information regarding New York, visit health.ny.gov or call 1-888-364-3065.
  • For information about COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website: gov/coronavirus.

Nuvance Health is keeping the communities informed on our website at nuvancehealth.org/coronavirus, and on social media @NuvanceHealth, or search for your hospital’s name. Nuvance Health hospitals include Danbury Hospital, New Milford Hospital, Norwalk Hospital, Sharon Hospital in Connecticut; Northern Dutchess Hospital, Putnam Hospital, Vassar Brothers Medical Center in New York

 

COVID-19 Temporary Visitation Policy

En Español – Spanish

Em Português – Portuguese

Nuvance Health Visitation Policy

To ensure a healthy and safe environment for our patients, staff, and visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic, Nuvance Health has implemented the following visitation policy. These guidelines will help you prepare for your next visit to a Nuvance Health hospital or facility.

Included here:

  • Overall Visitation Policy
  • Visitation Guidelines for Patients Under Age 21, Maternity Patients, and Extenuating Circumstances
  • Visitation Guidelines by Hospital

Overall Visitation Policy

  • Visitors age 18 and older are allowed to visit if they meet specific requirements for approved visitation. Exceptions for visitors age 17 and younger may apply for patients with extenuating circumstances. Details about these exceptions are below.
  • One (1) approved visitor is permitted to visit a patient only one (1) time per day for up to two (2) hours. While we encourage the same visitor per patient during their entire hospital stay to reduce possible COVID-19 exposure to all patients, visitors, and staff, the approved visitor can change day-to-day. We encourage as few visitors as possible to effectively support the wellbeing of the patient. We recommend only visiting a patient if you feel it’s absolutely necessary, such as you’re their caregiver, primary support person, or immediate family. Exceptions may apply for patients under age 21, maternity patients, and extenuating circumstances. Details about these exceptions are below.
  • Visitor must stay in the patient’s room at all times and follow all personal protective equipment (PPE) guidelines — such as wearing a medical face mask — as instructed by the care team. If visitor exits the room, they may not be permitted to return. Please use the call light to connect with a member of the care team from the patient’s room. Exceptions may apply for maternity patients. Details about these exceptions are below.

All visitors must meet the following requirements before they are approved to visit:

  • Visitors must arrive wearing a medical face mask. Please don’t wear a mask with a valve, or a bandana, scarf, or any other type of face covering.
  • Visitors need to show a government-issued photo ID (examples: driver’s license, passport) to check-in. Your visit will be recorded for contact tracing purposes if necessary.
  • Visitors will be screened for risk factors of COVID-19. Temperatures will be checked:
    • Visitors with symptoms will be asked to go home for the safety of our patients and staff.
    • Visitors who pass the initial screening but develop symptoms of COVID-19 at any time during their visit will also be asked to go home. At that time, an alternative visitor may be allowed, and will have to follow the same screening process.
  • If visitor was confirmed as having symptomatic COVID-19 but meets the following conditions, they may be permitted to visit if:
    • At least 72 hours have passed since recovery: no fever (greater than or equal to 99.5 F) without the use of fever-reducing medications, AND
    • Improvement in respiratory symptoms, such as cough and shortness of breath, AND
    • At least 14 days have passed since COVID-19 symptoms first appeared
  • If visitor was asymptomatic (not experiencing symptoms) at the time of their first positive COVID-19 test and are still asymptomatic, they may be permitted to visit if at least 14 days have passed since their first positive test.

Guidance for approved visitors:

  • Visiting hours are subject to change during this time. Please see below visitation guidelines by hospital for visiting hours.
  • Entrances at Nuvance Health hospitals and facilities may change. Please see below visitation guidelines by hospital for details.
  • Nuvance Health care teams will discuss the potential risks and benefits of visiting patients at the bedside:
    • Although individuals age 70 years or older may meet approved visitor criteria, they are encouraged not to visit at this time due to their increased risk of COVID-19.
    • Please consider using technology to stay connected and offer support remotely.
  • Visitors may drop off essential personal items for patients, such as clothing, contact lenses/glasses, hearing aids, mobile devices, laptops, and chargers. All items need to be in a clear, zip-top bag no larger than a gallon size.

The following visitors are not allowed at this time:

  • Visitation for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 varies per hospital. Please see below visitation guidelines by hospital for details.
  • Some areas within Nuvance Health hospitals and facilities may not allow visitors for the safety of our patients, such as cancer centers. Please see below visitation guidelines by hospital for details.
  • Per state executive orders, anyone traveling into Connecticut or New York from a state with a 10 percent or higher COVID-19 positivity test rate must self-quarantine for 14-days after travel. Visitors who meet this criteria will not be allowed to visit until after they quarantine for 14-days. The list of states and territories is updated weekly. Please go to these Travel Advisory websites for the latest list: Connecticut Travel Advisory; New York Travel Advisory
  • No visitors are allowed for non-medical purposes such as going to the café or gift shop.
  • Vendors are restricted at this time to only essential vendors, which are confirmed by their receiving department.

Visitation Guidelines for Patients Under Age 21, Maternity Patients, and Extenuating Circumstances

Any patients under age 21 — Two parents or support persons are permitted; only one allowed in the hospital at a time, except at discharge when two parents/support persons are encouraged to be with the patient to receive discharge information.

Maternity patients — One support person and/or a doula are allowed. Doula must follow the same process as support person before being allowed to attend the birth. Support person can stay with the patient during labor through discharge from the hospital. If at any time support person shows symptoms of COVID-19, they will be screened again by the clinical team, and may be asked to leave the hospital. At that time, an alternative support person may be allowed, and will have to follow the same screening process. We understand support person may need to leave the patient’s room or the hospital depending on the duration of the patient’s post-partum care. Please limit how often you come and go for the safety of all patients, visitors, and staff. You will have to follow the same screening process each time you re-enter the hospital.

Extenuating circumstances — Two support persons are permitted; only one allowed in the hospital at a time. The patient’s care team will determine if extenuating circumstances apply and discuss these with the patient and their support person(s). Extenuating circumstances may include:

  • Imminent end-of-life situations
  • Support person is determined to be essential to the care of the patient/medically necessary. Support person can stay with the patient from hospital admission through discharge. These extenuating circumstances may include:
    • Patients with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities
    • Patients with cognitive impairments including dementia
    • Patients with behavioral concerns
    • Patients who need communication support
    • Patients who need assistance due to the specifics of their disability
  • If the patient with extenuating circumstances is a parent of a minor child (age 17 and under), one adult family member and one child may be permitted at the patient’s bedside.

Visitation Guidelines by Hospital

Danbury Hospital

  • Visiting Hours:
    • Inpatient Units (not including Behavioral Health): 2:00pm to 6:00pm
      • For the health and safety of all, visitors are strongly encouraged to limit their visit to no more than two hours.
    • Behavioral Health: By appointment only
  • Open Entrances:
    • Main Entrance at the Peter & Carmen Lucia Buck Pavilion (park in the Rizzo Garage, or valet your car)
    • Stroock Building (park in the Gold or Red garages, or valet your car)
    • Ambulatory Surgery Unit Entrance
    • Danbury Hospital Medical Arts Center (DHMAC)
  • Where is visiting currently allowed:
    • Behavioral Health
    • Family Birth Center
    • Inpatient
    • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
    • Same-day procedural/surgical patients
  • Where is visiting currently restricted:
    • All other areas are restricted at this time
    • No visitors are permitted for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19

New Milford Hospital

  • Visiting Hours: 10:00am to 8:00pm
  • Open Entrances:
    • Emergency Department Entrance
    • Main Front Entrance
  • Where is visiting currently allowed:
    • Emergency Department
    • Inpatient
    • Same-day procedural/surgical patients
  • Where is visiting currently restricted: All other areas are restricted at this time

Norwalk Hospital

  • Visiting Hours: 11:00am to 6:00pm
  • Open Entrance: Main Pavilion Entrance
  • Where is visiting currently allowed:
    • Family Birth Center
    • Inpatient
    • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
    • Same-day procedural/surgical patients areas including Ambulatory Services Unit (ASU)/Operating Room (OR), Cardiac Cath Lab/Interventional Radiology, Endoscopy (Gastroenterology (GI))
  • Where is visiting currently restricted:
    • Behavioral Health
    • Cancer Center
    • Emergency Department
    • No visitors are permitted for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19

Northern Dutchess Hospital

  • Visiting Hours: 11:00am to 6:00pm
  • Open Entrances: Main Front Entrance
  • Where is visiting currently allowed:
    • Ambulatory Surgery: One visitor allowed in post-procedural area to assist with the discharge process
    • Family Birth Center
    • Inpatient
  • Where is visiting currently restricted:
    • Emergency Department
    • Endoscopy
    • Infusion
    • Lab
    • Outpatient Testing
    • Pain Management
    • Physical Therapy
    • Radiology
    • No visitors are permitted for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 who are receiving high flow oxygen, or on Bi-PAP or CPAP, or unable to tolerate wearing a mask.

Putnam Hospital

  • Visiting Hours: 12:00pm to 6:00pm
  • Open Entrances:
    • Monday through Friday: Main Front Entrance
    • Saturday through Sunday: Emergency Department Entrance
  • Where is visiting currently allowed: Inpatients (including Family Birth Center)
  • Where is visiting currently restricted:
    • All other areas are restricted at this time, including Behavioral Health
    • No visitors are permitted for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 who are receiving high flow oxygen, or on Bi-PAP or CPAP, or unable to tolerate wearing a mask.

Sharon Hospital

  • Visiting Hours: 11:00am to 8:00pm for inpatient units
  • Open Entrances:
    • Emergency Department Entrance: 24/7
    • Main Front Entrance: 5:45am to 4:30pm
  • Where is visiting currently allowed:
    • Inpatient
    • Outpatient Procedural/Surgical Areas: Support person permitted to drop off and pick up only, must wait outside of hospital during procedure/surgery
  • Where is visiting currently restricted:
    • All other areas are restricted at this time including the Emergency Department, inpatient Behavioral Health, and outpatient appointments/testing areas
    • No visitors are permitted for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 who are receiving high flow oxygen, or on Bi-PAP or CPAP, or unable to tolerate wearing a mask.

Vassar Brothers Medical Center

  • Visiting Hours: 11:00am to 3:00pm or 4:00pm to 6:00pm
  • Entrances: Main Front Entrance
  • Where is visiting currently allowed:
    • Family Birth Center
    • Inpatient, including Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
    • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
  • Where is visiting currently restricted:
    • All other areas are restricted at this time, including Emergency Department and procedural/surgical areas
    • No visitors are permitted for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this visitation policy may cause you and your family. This is a very important way to limit the risk of possible exposure to COVID-19 to you, your loved ones, and the community. We know that visitors and loved ones play an essential role as partners in healing and wellness. That’s why this visitation policy will be reevaluated daily and removed as soon as conditions allow.

Visit nuvancehealth.org/coronavirus for the latest information.

This visitation policy is subject to change.