Important Information About Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

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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.

How Penn State Health is Prepared

  • Penn State Health has the ability to accept drop-off donations of key supplies from the community at large.
  • 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.
  • On March 21, Penn State Health announced that an employee at one of its outpatient practices on the campus of the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • As of March 19, Penn State Health began suspending nonessential, elective surgeries. The health system is communicating directly with affected patients.
  • As of March 19, Penn State Health St. Joseph opens Drive-Through COVID-19 testing location.
  • As of March 16, Penn State Health St. Joseph starts entry screening at Bern Campus.
  • As part of our commitment to safety and high-quality care during the evolving outbreak of COVID-19, Penn State Health is enacting temporary changes to hospital visitation guidelines at Hershey Medical Center and St. Joseph Medical Center.
  • 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.
  • Penn State Health is now offering free virtual screenings for COVID-19 through its 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.

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 and do not send your children to school if they are sick.
  • If you are sick and have traveled to a region where COVID-19 is spreading, 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.
  • Minimize your risk of exposure and exposing others by seeing a doctor through Penn State Health OnDemand. Board-certified doctors are available 24/7. If you have symptoms of respiratory illness, they can assess your condition from the comfort of your home, provide care to help relieve the symptoms and offer guidance on when to seek additional care. Download the app, enrollment is free.

Resources for College of Medicine personnel

  • A number of resources are available to Penn State College of Medicine faculty, staff and students, including guidance around research protections, a directory of canceled events and more. See these at https://med.psu.edu/coronavirus.

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