Getting Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic
You’ve been told to stay at home—and to wear a mask—but what happens when you have a doctor’s appointment scheduled or if you experience a possible medical emergency such as chest pain?
Even during a pandemic, it is important to keep up with your medical care, including routine physicals, and you should absolutely seek emergency care if you need it. Nationwide, there has been a significant increase in mortality rates—more deaths than can be attributed to COVID-19. The worry is that people are not seeking emergency care when they feel very sick.
Middlesex Health knows the idea of leaving home to go to a medical facility can be anxiety provoking, but it is doing everything it can to ensure that you get the care you need safely. This includes offering virtual (telehealth) visits when appropriate.
Please know that visiting a Middlesex Health Emergency Department location is safe. Patients in a Middlesex Health Emergency Department are separated: one area for possible COVID-19 patients; another for patients who may have other problems. All patients, regardless of why they are visiting, are expected to wear masks.
While it is OK to delay some medical appointments for a short while, such as appointments for wellness visits or physical exams, routine follow-up appointments for chronic medical conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, should still occur.
Putting off annual exams and important tests and procedures can have unintended long-term consequences. It could mean that you miss identifying a problem early, allowing it to become a much bigger problem. The goal is to stay healthy—not to make things more challenging.
Middlesex at a glance
Here’s what you need to know.
- Most Middlesex Health facilities are open. Please click here for any changes to program, services and hours.
- Many medical providers are now seeing patients both in person or virtually.
- Masks must be worn by all patients and staff at any Middlesex Health facility.
- Middlesex Health is following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state Department of Public Health.
- Middlesex Health is restricting visitors at this time. Only compassionate care in-person visits are allowed. Family and friends, however, can visit with patients virtually. Click here to view Middlesex Health’s most up-to-date visitor policy.
- Middlesex believes it is safe to resume elective surgeries. It will be up to individual surgeons to determine whether a patient should have surgery at this time.
- Middlesex is evaluating patients who have COVID-19 symptoms at an outdoor testing site whenever possible.
What is a virtual visit?
Middlesex Health Primary Care, Middlesex Health Family Medicine, Middlesex Health Center for Behavioral Health, Middlesex Health Surgical Alliance, Middlesex Health MultiSpecialty Group and Middlesex Health Physical Rehabilitation are all now offering virtual (telehealth) visits. Most insurance companies are covering these telehealth visits through June.
In order to take part in a virtual visit, you must use a mobile device (iPhone or iPad or Android phone or tablet) or have access to a laptop or desktop computer with a camera and microphone. You will use an easy-to-use video communication platform to talk to medical staff, including your medical provider. To learn more, click here.
What about in person visits?
Middlesex Health medical providers are still seeing patients in person.
While ensuring that offices are clean has always been a priority, Middlesex has amped up its efforts. It has also rearranged waiting rooms to allow for social distancing, and masks must be worn by patients and staff. For Middlesex Health Primary Care and Middlesex Health Family Medicine, sick visits are scheduled at specific times of day to prevent sick and well patients from interacting. Patient and staff health and safety is Middlesex Health’s top priority.
To discuss whether to see your medical provider in person or opt for a virtual visit, the best thing to do is to call your medical provider’s office directly. They will help you with your decision.
As a reminder, please call your medical provider’s office if you are sick, and we can help you determine your next steps. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Diarrhea, loss of taste or smell and diffuse muscle aches are also now symptoms of COVID-19.
To help further limit the spread of COVID-19, the Middlesex Health Emergency Department is evaluating individuals with COVID-19 symptoms outside of the hospital’s doors whenever possible. At this time, Middlesex is only testing the following members of the public:
- Individuals who are seriously ill, exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 and require admission to the hospital
- Individuals from congregant housing, such as nursing homes and shelters
- All patients admitted to Middlesex Hospital, including moms in labor and behavioral health patients
- All elective surgery patients
For all coronavirus-related information from Middlesex Health, please visit our coronavirus information page. You can also click here to watch Dr. Jesse Wagner, Middlesex Health's chief medical officer, on WTNH. He spoke about getting care during the COVID-19 pandemic.