Frequently Asked Questions

Review frequently asked questions about 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Q: Have you treated any patients with COVID-19?

A: Yes. If you believe you may have COVID-19, please call your primary healthcare provider. If you do not have a primary healthcare provider, please call the TMH Transition Center at 850-431-4470. They can help to connect you with a medical provider or other appropriate resources.

Q: Is Tallahassee Memorial screening patients for COVID-19?

A: Yes. We are following CDC and WHO recommendations on screening. For more information about testing and screening for COVID-19, please view our Testing Information.

Q: What should I do if I need to be tested?

A: If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, call your primary care physician to request testing. Your primary care provider will decide whether you need to be tested and can order a test without approval from the Department of Health. Keep in mind that there is no treatment for COVID-19 and people who are mildly ill may be able to isolate and care for themselves at home.

If you do not have a primary care provider, please call the TMH Transition Center at 850-431-4470. They can help to connect you with a medical provider or other appropriate resources.

Only patients who are in respiratory distress need to visit a local emergency center for testing. Your primary care provider should call ahead to notify the emergency center of your need for testing.

Q: Where should I go if I'm pregnant?

A: If you are experiencing symptoms of fever, cough, sneezing, sore throat or rash, but are NOT having any concerns in regards to your pregnancy (no pain, loss of movement, etc.) please call your primary care physician and do NOT come to Labor & Delivery Triage.

Q: What criteria is used for screening COVID-19?

A: Persons who exhibit symptoms of respiratory illness with a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, have had close contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19, have traveled internationally or on a cruise, are over the age of 65 with health conditions or people with compromised immune systems could potentially be tested for COVID-19. Contact your primary care provider to request testing.

Q: What is COVID-19?

A: Coronaviruses are respiratory viruses named for the crown-like spikes on the surface of the virus. These range from viruses that cause the common cold, to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). The latest coronavirus from China is called Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). This new coronavirus is different from the others and we are learning more about it every day.

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

A: COVID-19 is spread by close person-to-person contact from droplets from a cough or sneeze, which can get into your mouth, nose, or lungs. Close contact is defined as being within approximately 6 feet of another person.

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness. The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure: fever, cough, shortness of breath. 

Q: What is the difference between the COVID-19 and the flu?

A: The symptoms can be similar. CDC estimates that so far this season, there have been at least 19 million flu illnesses, 180,000 hospitalizations and 10,000 deaths in the U.S. As long as flu viruses are circulating, it is not too late to get vaccinated.

Q: How long does it take for symptoms of COVID-19 to appear?

A: CDC believes at this time that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as two days, or as long as 14 days after exposure. This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS viruses. There are isolated reports of individuals transmitting the infection to others before they develop symptoms. To be cautious, many governments are requiring an isolation period of 14 days for people returning from endemic areas.

Q: How is it treated?

A: There is currently no FDA-approved medication for the COVID-19. People infected with this virus should receive supportive care (rest, fluids, fever control) to help relieve symptoms, and for severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions.

Q: How will the community know if we have a diagnosed patient with Coronavirus?

A: If a patient at TMH tests positive for COVID-19, information will be immediately released by TMH and the Florida Department of Health.

Q: Should I wear a face mask? Will that help protect me?

A: There is no recommendation from the CDC right now to wear a face mask. Masks certainly do no harm. They do help to stop the spread of infection, so they can help if someone who is actively sick wears them. However, when it comes to this specific COVID-19, if you are not sick, around someone who is sick and do not have symptoms, maintaining proper infection control such as frequent hand washing and cough etiquette is the best form of protection.

Q: How can I best protect myself?

A: Practice the following:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not
    available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are showing symptoms of illness.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or sneeze into your elbow. Throw the tissue in the garbage and make sure to clean your hands afterwards.
  • Clean and disinfect 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.

Q: Is there a vaccine?

A: There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19.

Q: Is there a treatment?

A: There is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 should seek medical care to help relieve symptoms.