COVID FAQ: For Patients and Visitors

I think I might have COVID-19, should I get tested?

Refer to our page about COVID-19 for risk factors, symptoms and other information.

For patients who believe they may have COVID-19, the Brigham has set up testing at two sites. Please note that at both locations patients require an appointment prior to arriving — walk-in/drive-up testing is not available. Current locations include:

In both locations, we have set up large, drive-thru tents, which allow patients to stay in their vehicles during testing. If you believe you need to be tested, please contact your health care provider.

I have a scheduled procedure, what should I do?

The Brigham has postponed all scheduled elective surgeries and procedures. Please know that the decision was not taken lightly, and this difficult decision was made with the welfare of all our patients and staff in mind.

All patients will receive a phone call and a letter regarding the cancellation of their scheduled appointment. Due to the ongoing challenge of the outbreak, we cannot confirm when appointments will be rescheduled, but patients will be contacted as soon as their appointments can be rescheduled safely.

What is the current visitor policy?

As the spread of COVID-19 is a threat to our patients, their loved ones and the Brigham community, we will no longer allow visitors except in special circumstances. More information is available on our visitor policy web page.

How is the Brigham preparing for COVID-19?

A multidisciplinary team of health care providers, administrative leaders, researchers, and support staff have been preparing to care for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 since late January.

We have taken every precaution to ensure that we can provide all patients, including those with possible COVID-19, with the highest quality care while protecting hospital staff, other patients and visitors.

A number of efforts are underway across the hospital, including:

  • Updating our emergency department and ambulatory screening protocols to rapidly detect patients with possible COVID-19
  • Updating the screening tools in our electronic health record to flag patients with possible COVID-19
  • Regularly updating providers about the status of the outbreak and our evolving understanding of this disease
  • Implementing a robust training program on the appropriate use of personal protective equipment
  • Conducting drills on the identification, transport, rooming and safe care of patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19
  • Planning for the potential influx of a large number of COVID-19 patients

For patients considered at risk for COVID-19, clinicians deploy strict precautions (airborne, contact and eye protection). This includes patients with:

  • Fever or symptoms of lower-respiratory illness (including coughing or trouble breathing)
  • Recent travel from countries where COVID-19 outbreaks have been reported
  • Contact with a known or suspected case of COVID-19

What happens if a healthcare provider tests positive for COVID-19?

If a healthcare provider tests positive for COVID-19, the Brigham will activate an intensive process of tracing every patient and staff member with whom that provider has interacted with during a given timeframe. Leveraging information from our electronic health record, we will determine who the provider has interacted with and for how long.

If a healthcare provider tests positive for COVID-19, our clinical team will contact the patients with whom that provider has interacted with as well as their loved ones/visitors.

Patients who have had close contact* with a provider with a confirmed case of COVID-19 will be required to monitor for symptoms. Loved ones or those with no close contact are advised to self-monitor.

Those spaces where a confirmed provider has spent time will be thoroughly cleaned by a team from environmental services.

For staff

Any employee who has tested positive for COVID-19 will be contacted by the Brigham’s Occupational Health Services and screened as per the following guidelines from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

  • If an employee has had close contact* with a confirmed case of COVID-19, they will be furloughed for 14 days and will undergo symptom monitoring twice daily
  • If an employee did not have close contact, * they may continue working but must wear a mask and monitor for symptoms for 14 days

*Close contact is defined as 15 minutes or more at a distance of less than 6 feet.

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