Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

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Last Updated March 27, 2020 at 9 a.m.

The University of Toledo continues to monitor the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic and is working with the Ohio Department of Health and the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department, as well as following the guidance of the CDC. For the latest information from the Ohio Department of Health, visit the Coronavirus.Ohio.gov website.

As a community hospital serving our neighbors in South Toledo, The University of Toledo Medical Center (UTMC) is working to keep patients, visitors and employees safe throughout this rapidly evolving global pandemic.

To minimize the number of people in the hospital and help prevent the spread of disease, visitors are prohibited throughout the hospital effective March 15. The only exception is for immediate family of patients who are receiving end-of-life care. 

What Is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus that was first detected in Wuhan, China, late last year. It is not the same as the coronaviruses that cause the common cold, or the viruses that cause seasonal influenza.

What Are the Symptoms of COVID-19?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness and a dry cough. Confirmed cases have ranged from mild infections to severe illnesses requiring hospitalization. The WHO notes that about 80% of those who are infected recover without requiring specialized treatment.

Experts are still learning about COVID-19, but the virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes being within approximately 6 feet of someone with the illness for a prolonged period of time or having direct contact with infectious secretions (such as being coughed on) are the most common ways the infection is spread. It is possible the virus can be spread from contact with infected surfaces, but CDC says this is not the main way the virus spreads.

What Can I Do To Protect Myself?

The CDC says the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

On March 22, 2020, the Ohio Department of Health issued a directive requiring all Ohioans to stay in their homes to prevent further spread of COVID-19. The directive is in effect through April 6, 2020. Except for essential activities such as going grocery shopping, receiving medical care or going to and from work at an essential business, individuals should stay home.
If you must go out, CDC recommends people take the same preventative actions they would for any respiratory disease.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Put distance between yourself and other people. The CDC has recommended that everyone limit social gatherings to no more than 50 people.

There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19, though researchers are working to develop one.

Will Wearing a Facemask Protect Me?

As of April, 3, 2020, the CDC is now recommending that individuals wear cloth face coverings in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain — particularly in areas of the country that are experiencing high levels of community spread.

The updated guidance is meant to slow the spread of the virus, particularly from individuals who may have the virus but are not showing obvious symptoms. 

CDC is not recommending that individuals wear surgical masks or N95 respirators in order to reserve those critical supplies for first responders and healthcare workers.

What Should I Do If I Feel Sick?

We are currently in cold and flu season, and influenza is still high in the United States.

However, if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, the CDC advises you should call your healthcare provider for medical advice. Your healthcare professional will work with guidelines from local and/or state public health officials to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.

For those who are mildly ill, the CDC offers the following guidelines:

  • Stay at home. People with mild symptoms from COVID-19 are able to recover at home. Stay at home except to get medical care. Do not visit public spaces, and avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing or taxis.
  • Monitor your symptoms and stay in touch with your doctor. Seek medical care right away if your illness is worsening — for example, if you have difficulty breathing. Call ahead before you seek medical care. Call 911 if you have a medical emergency and notify the operator that you have or think you might have COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before medical help arrives.
  • Avoid other people and pets. As much as possible, you should stay in a specific “sick room” and away from other people and pets in your home.

Individuals who suspect they may have COVID-19 are encouraged to call their primary care physician, the Toledo Lucas County Health Department at 419.251.4000 (English only) or 419.291.5355 (multilingual), or the UTMC Emergency Department at 419.383.3888.

Is UTMC testing individuals for COVID-19?

Test kits for COVID-19 remain limited across Ohio at this time. Currently, priority is being given to patients who are severely ill and hospitalized with severe pneumonia, patients who are in intensive care units with severe respiratory illness, and first responders and medical workers who have had direct exposure to a confirmed COVID-19 and are symptomatic (e.g., temperature equal to or greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, shortness of breath and cough).

Individuals are not able to request a test. For more information on testing in our community, please call the Toledo Lucas County Health Department’s COVID-19 hotline at 419.251.4000 (English only) or 419.291.5355 (multilingual).

How is UTMC working with other hospitals and health providers?

Beginning March 24, 2020, UTMC’s pathology laboratory is able to test for COVID-19 and deliver results in less than 48 hours. UTMC is working closely with the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department and other area hospitals to provide this lab service.

UTMC continues to work with regional hospitals and the Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio to share knowledge and resources.

Is UTMC Prepared to Respond?

UTMC is well prepared to serve the needs of the Toledo community. In January, UTMC established a multidisciplinary team to lead our planning and response. That group, which includes infectious disease experts, has been meeting regularly and continues to monitor developments daily. The hospital has established plans in place for treating suspected or confirmed COVID-19 that include measures to protect the safety of our employees and our patients. We announced we were postponing all elective procedures on March 16, 2020, ahead of a statewide order from the Ohio Department of Health, in order to limit the number of patients in our facility and to preserve personal protective equipment. We have expanded the number of airborne infection isolation rooms in our facility and are prepared to further expand our capability to care for patients with COVID-19. We continue to follow and implement evidence-based best practices for diagnosing and treating COVID-19. An alternative care site is in the process of being opened in anticipation for an influx of respiratory illness patients.

Are Visitors Permitted?

To minimize the number of people in the hospital and help prevent the spread of disease, visitors are prohibited throughout the hospital effective March 15. The only exception is for immediate family of patients who are receiving end-of-life care.  Clergy will be addressed on a cases by cases circumstance at end of life.

Are UTMC Outpatient Pharmacies Still Open?

Our outpatient pharmacies continue to fill prescriptions. To help protect the health of patients and pharmacy employees, outpatient pharmacies are now offering curbside pickup of prescription medications and a limited number of over-the-counter medications. Curbside pickup is the only service offered at Main Campus Pharmacy.

As an additional service specifically for UToledo employees and their dependents, prescription medications also can be mailed directly to homes at no additional cost.

How Do I Schedule A Pickup Or Order By Mail?

Refills can be ordered for either curbside pickup or mail order by phone, online, or via the RXLOCAL smartphone app. New orders for existing patients must be processed by phone or through the app. When ordering, patients are asked to notify the pharmacy of their preference for curbside pickup or mail delivery.

New patients are requested to call the pharmacy to speak with a staff member.

For locations, hours of operation, and telephone numbers, please visit the UToledo outpatient pharmacy website.

Please note, not all prescriptions will be able to filled on the same day as requested.

Is the Bistro Still Open?

The Bistro will remain open with a limited menu and food will be provided exclusively via take-out containers.

 

Last Updated: 4/7/20