Update on COVID-19 at Penn State Health dashboard displaying PUI, confirmed cases, cumulative discharges and cumulative fatalities

Important Information About Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

En Espanol

Penn State Health is committed to keeping the public informed and helping people find the most up-to-date, reliable information about coronavirus disease 2019, also known as COVID-19.

We continue to work closely with public health officials to protect the health and safety of all of our patients, visitors and team members. We are assessing the risk of exposure pursuant to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and PA Department of Health.

OnDemand virtual screening

Free virtual screenings for COVID-19 are now available through our telehealth service, Penn State Health OnDemand. Anyone with concerns that they may have COVID-19 may use Penn State Health OnDemand to talk directly with a provider who can evaluate their symptoms and make care recommendations. Download the app, enrollment is free. (As of 03/18)

Screening vs testing: What's the difference?

Learn the difference between COVID-19 screening and testing on this infographic.

Drive-thru COVID-19 testing hours

Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
(Westview Parking Garage)

Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Penn State Health, Mount Nittany Health
Monday, Wednesday and Friday: Noon to 4:00 p.m.

Penn State Health St. Joseph
Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Testing is free and available to patients who have been evaluated by a provider and given an order for the test. Patients must present their doctor’s order, photo identification and insurance card.

Coronavirus Updates at Penn State Health

For updated information regarding coronavirus at Penn State Health, visit our Newsroom by clicking on the link below.

Penn State Health augments financial services for patients

As patients and families navigate the challenges presented by COVID-19, Penn State Health has enhanced its financial counseling services, adding additional financial counselors and customer service representatives to assist patients and consumers with a variety of new and existing programs. (As of 03/31)

Family/support persons are now permitted to accompany patients during their care

Penn State Health has revised its patient visitation guideline to meet the emotional and spiritual needs of patients, while also continuing to protect staff, patients and visitors. (As of 06/02)

Donations

Penn State Health has the ability to accept donations for staff support.

Residents are reminded to follow the changing guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Pennsylvania Governor’s Office about leaving their homes for nonessential travel. Individuals are encouraged to consolidate their essential trips with drop-off activities. (As of 04/02)

Medical and surgical operations resume

Penn State Health announced it will begin to gradually and systematically resume standard patient appointments, non-emergent surgical procedures and other clinical activities after nearly two months of restrictions due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. (As of 05/09)

Temporarily relocating/closing select Medical Group locations

In response to the evolving coronavirus pandemic, Penn State Health Medical Group is consolidating a number of its physician practices across the region and plans to close others until further notice.

In many cases, patients will be redirected to other clinic sites, and Medical Group staff are contacting those who are affected. Physicians and staff at closed or consolidated sites are being redeployed to other locations, with some physicians serving to provide remote consultation for patients with respiratory and other symptoms through the Penn State Health OnDemand telehealth platform. (As of 03/22)

When to seek care

If you are experiencing the above symptoms (fever, cough or difficulty breathing) and you have traveled to an affected area or have been in close contact with an individual that has traveled to an impacted area, and you think you need to be tested for COVID-19, please call your health care provider BEFORE visiting their office. Be sure to inform them of your symptoms and travel history or exposure to a person diagnosed with the virus.

Coronavirus symptoms

The CDC reports that illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure (based on the incubation period of MERS-CoV viruses).

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

But these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness. The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu.

It's very unlikely you will contract coronavirus if:

  • you have not been in close contact with someone with confirmed coronavirus.
  • you have not been to a country or area with a high risk of coronavirus in the last 14 days.

How Penn State Health is Responding

  • With guidance from the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, designated an Ebola Treatment Center, our health system has plans in place to manage patients with special illnesses while safeguarding patients, hospital visitors, health care workers and the community at large.
  • Travel screenings are in place for all intake staff to identify higher risk patients.
  • If a patient tests positive for the illness, the appropriate protocol is already in place, including approved rooms dedicated for COVID-19 admissions.
  • Penn State Health has distributed personal protective equipment and patient hygiene kits to all clinic and practice sites.
  • Penn State Health continues to monitor the availability of additional PPE in the event that more supplies are needed.
  • Penn State Health is closely monitoring COVID-19 illness as well as developments in its diagnosis and treatment.
  • To further ensure the safety of our staff at Penn State Health and Penn State College of Medicine during this time, COVID-19 screenings of all staff are taking place daily.
  • Penn State Health began providing ear loop masks to all employees. For added protection employees who work in clinical areas with direct patient interaction will wear a face shield as well.

What the Public Should Do

  • Because it is currently the cold and flu season, the CDC recommends getting the flu vaccine if you have not already. Influenza symptoms can mimic COVID-19 symptoms. Flu vaccine is available at all Penn State Health primary care and urgent care sites.
  • Individuals should continue to exercise standard safety measures, including not touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom; use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Do not go to work if you are sick.
  • If you are sick or have been in contact with someone suspected of having COVID-19, call your health care provider immediately for recommendations on how best to be evaluated;
    • do not go to a hospital, urgent care site, or outpatient clinic without calling ahead to report your travel history.
  • Free virtual screenings for COVID-19 are now available through our telehealth service, Penn State Health OnDemand.

For information about symptoms, illness severity, treatment and prevention steps, and current CDC travel warnings, visit the CDC website.