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COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Last Updated 5:55 PM, 4/1/20

Testing

Symptoms, self-care at home

Exposure, isolation and quarantine

When to seek medical help

Changes at Henry Ford Health System with COVID-19 outbreak

General information


What are the criteria for testing?

Currently, tests are limited for patients with severe symptoms, those admitted to the hospital and healthcare working providing care to ill patients.

Who decides criteria for testing?

The CDC decides testing criteria.

Why isn’t everyone with cold symptoms tested so they do not pass it to others?

We would like to test everyone, but due to the current national shortage of testing supplies, tests are limited for patients with severe symptoms, those admitted to the hospital and healthcare workers providing care to ill patients.

Where can I be tested?

HFHS Testing

Currently at Henry Ford Health System COVID-19 testing is reserved for patients with severe symptoms, admitted to the hospital and healthcare workers providing care to ill patients. 

City of Detroit Testing

COVID-19 testing is being conducted at the Coronavirus Community Care Network Drive-Thru Testing site located at the State Fair Grounds. To be tested at this site, you must have an order from a physician and an appointment. If you have an order from a physician, call 313-230-0505, Monday – Sunday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. for an appointment.

Established Henry Ford Health System patients who have symptoms of COVID-19, can call the Henry Ford Health System COVID Hotline at 313-874-1055 for advice and next steps on how to get tested.

When can I expect to receive my COVID-19 test results? 

A worldwide shortage of testing supplies has created some unpredictability in turnaround times. Most test results are available in approximately 6-10 days. For patients at very high risk, like those who require hospitalization, the results are usually available in 1-2 days. Critical healthcare workers who need to be cleared for work may also receive results sooner. We understand the desire to get results back quickly. Please know that we are doing our best to minimize the time it takes to provide results, even in light of the high volume and complexity of these tests. 

I have diabetes and I’m over 65, but I have no symptoms. Shouldn’t I be tested for COVID-19?

Currently testing is reserved for patients with severe symptoms, those admitted to the hospital and healthcare working providing care to ill patients

My work wants me to get tested, where can I go?

COVID-19 tests are limited to patients with severe symptoms, those admitted to the hospital and healthcare working providing care to ill patients. Lab testing, including testing for COVID-19, is done based on clinical evaluation and will not be performed at the request of an employer for an employee to return to work.

Can Henry Ford Health System provide return-to-work letters for people who are not current patients? 

We do not provide return-to-work letters for those we have not evaluated. Lab testing, including testing for COVID-19, is done based on clinical evaluation and will not be performed at the request of an employer for an employee to return to work. Health care systems are concentrating on caring for the most ill patients and are not able to provide work and day care clearance letters to people not currently under our care. 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include fever >101F, cough, shortness of breath. Some cases start with diarrhea, nausea, and/or vomiting. Many cases just have mild cold symptoms of runny nose, sore throat, mild cough. All of these are reasons to quarantine and self-isolate from family in the home for 14 days.

Can I get sick if I haven’t met anyone infected with COVID-19?

Yes, it is possible. The virus can travel from person to person without causing symptoms in some people. One of those people could still infect someone, and that person could show symptoms. This is called community spread and is one of the reasons government officials are recommending limiting activities with groups of more than 50 people and have taken measures like school closures.

What is the incubation period after exposure? 

The incubation period is 2 to 14 days between exposure and any symptoms that may appear. 

If I develop COVID-19 symptoms, how long do the symptoms last? 

Symptoms last 7-14 days for mild to moderate cases that do not require hospitalization.

What can I take to help with COVID-19 symptoms?

You can take Tylenol and over-the-counter cold or cough suppressants which contain guaifenesin or dextromethorphan. If these are ineffective, we recommend a virtual visit (e-visit, video visit, telephone visit) with your doctor since there may be prescription options.

Supposedly, the latest World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines say not to use ibuprofen. Is this true? I have heard to use Tylenol instead. Also, is basic Aspirin OK? 

WHO released a public statement that does not recommend against using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen solely due to the COVID-19 infection. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) have similar statements and recommend that patients self-medicate according to the medication labeling, and that prescribers perform their usual risk-benefit when deciding to prescribe NSAIDs.

Tylenol is the best first choice for fever, aches, and sore throat. Aspirin should not be given to children. The use of aspirin or other medication-related questions should be discussed with your physician. The use of Ibuprofen for COVID-19 is still not clear. 

How long is someone contagious after symptoms resolve?

Once your symptoms completely resolve, you are no longer contagious.

How long will you test positive after getting COVID-19? 

This may vary depending on the person and their ability to fight off the virus. 

Like the flu or a common cold, can you be infected again after recovering from COVID-19? 

Because this is a new virus, we don’t know for sure. But, based on what we know about other coronaviruses, (MERS/SARS) it is unlikely that you would be infected again.

How long do I self-isolate if I was exposed?

Immediately and monitor for symptoms for 14 days while you isolate. 

Do I have to quarantine if I have cold symptoms with no exposure?

Yes, staying at home prevents you from picking up additional germs while your body fights off your cold symptoms and prevents others from becoming ill.

What if I have been exposed, but don't have any symptoms, can I still be around my family? Do I need to self-quarantine? 

Yes, you should self-quarantine as you may be contagious before you start having symptoms. If you’re around family, your family would also be susceptible.

I have been exposed and didn’t know it and been around my family for days, how do I quarantine?

All household members must stay at home and monitor for symptoms for 14 days. Remember too, we are all currently under the Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order.

How long do I need to self-quarantine if I have been exposed and had symptoms, but they are now gone?

Once your symptoms are completely resolved -- meaning no fevers for 24 hours without a fever-reducing medication and zero symptoms for 3 days -- you may end your self-isolation. 

If my family member is having some COVID-19 symptoms, do I need to quarantine for 14 days?

Yes, all household members must stay at home and monitor for symptoms for 14 days. Remember too, we are all currently under the Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order.

I have been exposed, but tested negative, do I have to remain in quarantine?

No, but remember we are all currently under the Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order.

If I don’t have any symptoms after self-isolating for 14 days, can I resume normal activities?

Yes, but remember we are all currently under the Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order.

If I live with someone who has/had the coronavirus, am I also going to get sick?

If you follow the CDC guidelines, you can prevent getting sick. This includes the sick person staying in one bedroom of the house and using a separate bathroom. Food and supplies can be brought to the sick person, but those that deliver them should wear a mask if possible.

With the Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order, should we stay away from everyone or only those at risk?

To stop the spread of coronavirus, health and government officials recommend remaining at home, as much as possible. If you need to go out, practice social distancing (maintaining a 6-foot distance from other people). This reduces the chance of contact with those knowingly or unknowingly carrying the infection.

If I feel sick and need to see a doctor, what do I do? 

If you have coronavirus symptoms (fever, new cough, trouble breathing, runny nose or sore throat), call your primary care doctor. If you are a Henry Ford patient, connect with your doctor using MyChart either through:

  •  An E-visit using the online form to explain your symptoms. Your doctor will respond within one business day.
  •  Or, a MyCare On Demand video visit. Request a video visit in real time with a doctor; Henry Ford doctors are available 7 days per week from 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. 

How do I know when I need to go to the ER?

Any signs of difficulty breathing or distress.

How will I know if my is my breathing is severely affected?

If it difficult to take a breath or if you are short of breath. For example, if you are normally active, and you are out of breath at top of stairs for more than a few seconds, out of breath doing housework or walking on flat ground for a block.

Are your hospitals restricting visitors? 

To help ensure the safety of our patients, team members and the communities we serve, temporary visitor restrictions are in place at all Henry Ford Health System facilities.

Are you screening visitors? 

Temporary visitor restrictions are in place at all Henry Ford Health System facilities. Visitors are being screened for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 before entering Henry Ford hospitals and medical centers. We are screening for fever, new cough, trouble breathing, sore throat, running nose, shortness of breath and gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea. Some locations may take your temperature. 

Are you screening employees? 

To help protect everyone, staff entering our clinical locations will be asked screening questions and may have temperatures taken upon entry.

Is my scheduled procedure being canceled?

All procedures and appointments throughout Henry Ford Health System that are not time sensitive are being postponed. Impacted patients are being notified. This is being done in order to protect our patients and staff and to prepare for an anticipated increased demand for hospital beds and ventilators. Procedures and appointments that are time sensitive will occur as planned. 

What locations are closed/closing?

As a precautionary measure, some Henry Ford Health System locations are temporarily closed and will remain closed until further notice. We will continue to evaluate closures, based on the progression of the COVID-19 outbreak. 

What’s the hotline number for coronavirus questions?

For up-to-date information about coronavirus and to ask questions, call the Henry Ford COVID-19 patient hotline at (313) 874-1055 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Can Henry Ford Health System provide return-to-work letters for people who are not current patients?

We do not provide return-to-work letters for those we have not evaluated. Lab testing, including testing for COVID-19, is done based on clinical evaluation and will not be performed at the request of an employer for an employee to return to work. Health care systems are concentrating on caring for the most ill patients and are not able to provide work and day care clearance letters to people not currently under our care.

Is it safe for me to deliver my baby at a Henry Ford Health System hospital?

Henry Ford Health System hospitals are well-equipped to care for you and your baby. Our staff is following local, state, and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines and recommendations regarding caring for patients requiring obstetrical care.

Right now, COVID-19 appears to infect infants and children much less than the elderly, people with chronic medical conditions, and weakened immune systems. For more information, talk to your OB doctor about your concerns and options.

Is it okay to pick up prescriptions?

Yes, you can safely pick up prescriptions, but maintain a 6-foot space between you and other people. Use pick-up windows or mail delivery if those options are available. 

What can I do to help protect myself from the virus?

You should protect yourself by using these health hygiene practices that are recommended by the CDC to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. 
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or into our sleeve – not your hands. Throw away the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. 

In elderly or vulnerable patients, do the symptoms tend to start mild and progress, or is it acute? Why do we hear the rate of death amongst the elderly is higher?

Symptoms may appear within 2 to 14 days of exposure. The severity and timing of symptoms varies from person-to-person. Elderly patients are at additional risk because they may be more apt to have co-morbidities (other illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, etc.).

If we step on COVID-19 droplets, is there a chance to spread it to different surfaces? If we touch those surfaces with hands, can we spread it to ourselves if we touch our face?

All surfaces that may be contaminated should be cleaned and disinfected regularly. The number one way to prevent transfer from contaminated surfaces is to wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

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Henry Ford Health System is committed to ensuring our Deaf or hard-of-hearing patients and visitors have equal access to all services. We provide the appropriate auxiliary aids and services, including qualified sign language interpreters, TTYs and other assistive listening devices, at no cost. To request assistance, call 313-916-1896 or email CommunicationAccess@hfhs.org.

If you have traveled to China, Iran, Italy, Japan or South Korea in the last 14 days or been in close contact with someone suspected to have the COVID-19 (Coronavirus), please contact our nurse line @ 313- 874-7500 prior to scheduling.

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