Information about novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronavirus Illustration

We know many of you have questions and concerns about COVID-19 in your community. Illness due to COVID-19 infection is generally mild, especially for children and young adults. However, it can cause serious illness, so it is important to be informed about how to protect yourself and others.

What do I do if my child or I am sick?

If you or your child have upper respiratory symptoms (cough, fever or shortness of breath) and believe you need to be evaluated for COVID-19 – please call first before visiting a hospital, clinic or urgent care to determine if you need to visit a specific site for testing. We have also established an assessment tool to help determine if you are at risk for COVID-19.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough or shortness of breath) or upper respiratory symptoms (sore throat, runny nose, nasal congestion), please use our Virtual Care e-visit service. If clinically appropriate, we will refer you to a site for further evaluation.

How to protect yourself & your family

How do I keep myself and my family safe?

Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak. You can reduce your chances of being infected or spreading COVID-19 by taking some simple precautions:

  • Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
  • Maintain at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and anyone outside of your household, especially anyone who is coughing or sneezing. Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
  • Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow when you cough or sneeze. Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough or difficulty breathing, or these other symptoms, seek medical attention and call in advance. Why? Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks.
  • Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow advice given by your health care provider and your national and local public health authority on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
Should I wear a mask?

You should definitely wear a mask if you are ill with COVID-19 symptoms (especially coughing) or caring for someone who has or may have COVID-19.

The CDC has recently suggested that individuals should wear cloth masks when going out in public places where you cannot guarantee effective social distancing (staying 6 feet away from other people). Wearing a mask is optional and not required.

The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to frequently clean your hands, cover your cough with the bend of your elbow and maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from other people.

We are asking that patients and visitors coming to any MultiCare facilities wear a mask. We strongly encourage all patients and visitors to wear their own masks to our facilities for use during their visit. We will provide masks to those arriving without them.

How do I talk with my kids about COVID-19?

Knowing important information about the outbreak and learning how to be prepared can reduce your stress and help calm likely anxieties.

View the Helping Children Cope guide, which includes reactions according to age group and the best ways you can respond.

If you or a loved one is having a difficult time coping with the outbreak and want to seek outside help, there are ways to get that help. For example:

  • Get support regarding your anxiety or stress by speaking to a trained counselor at SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990 or by texting TalkWithUS 66746
  • Contact your health care provider to ask health-related questions or seek mental health support.
What if I don't have health insurance?

Free or low-cost Apple Health is available year-round through the Washington Healthplanfinder for those who qualify, and a Special Enrollment is available if you have certain life changes, including loss of health insurance coverage due to job loss.

If you are a MultiCare patient, our Patient Financial Navigators (PFNs) can help you determine your eligibility for over available 20 insurance and financial assistance programs. Call us at 833-936-0515, or visit our Financial Assistance web page, to find out more.

Information about novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

As we’ve learned more about COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, the symptoms that may indicate that someone is sick with COVID-19 has evolved.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recently updated their guidance to indicate that people with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of these symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel sick.

This list is not all inclusive. You should contact your doctor if you have other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention right away.

How does COVID-19 spread?

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

It may also be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. It is important to wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face in public and clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading easily and sustainably in the community. Typically, people are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest). Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with COVID-19. Research on this is still underway, but due to these reports, the CDC has recommended masking when in public.

How severe is COVID-19? Should I worry?

Illness due to COVID-19 infection is generally mild, especially for children and young adults. Some people who contract it need hospital care. It is therefore quite normal for people to worry about how the COVID-19 outbreak will affect them and their loved ones.

Most coronavirus illnesses are mild with fever and cough. The vast majority of people with COVID-19 do not require hospital care. A much smaller percentage of people get severely ill with lung and breathing problems like pneumonia. People over the age of 60 and people with underlying medical conditions are at highest risk.

Who is at risk of developing severe illness?

People at high risk for complications from COVID-19 are:

  • People older than 60 years of age
  • People with chronic medical conditions
  • People with compromised immune systems
  • Those who are pregnant

Visiting Mary Bridge

Visitor restrictions at Mary Bridge Children's Hospital

To make sure our patients, visitors and staff stay safe while we address the current COVID-19 situation, MultiCare has established visitor restrictions at our hospitals. Learn more about our current visitor restrictions.

Outpatient Clinic Closures

Call Before You Leave Home

Please contact your child's provider or specialist before leaving home to confirm the clinic is open or if there is a modified schedule. Closures vary by location.

What is the difference between social distancing, quarantine and isolation?

Social distancing, also called physical distancing, is one of the best ways to slow the spread of COVID-19. It can help keep sick people from coming in contact with healthy ones and so limit the number of people who are exposed to, or get sick with, a contagious illness. The CDC recommends avoiding large gatherings and crowds. You should also maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from others.

Quarantine in general means separating a person or people who may have a contagious disease, but aren’t showing symptoms yet, from other people who have not been so exposed. This can help prevent more people from getting sick because sometimes a person can pass an illness on to others even before they become sick. With COVID-19, the CDC has recommended a 14-day period of quarantine to monitor for symptoms.

Isolation refers to separating a person or people who probably or definitely have a contagious disease from people who are not sick. Isolation may be voluntary or compelled by governmental or public health authorities.

Is it safe for my child to receive care at a Mary Bridge Children's?

We continue to care for our patients using the highest safety and quality standards, using recommendations made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). While COVID-19 is new to our community, caring for patients with serious illnesses is not. Every day, Mary Bridge and MultiCare routinely cares for patients with serious illnesses, including contagious diseases, while protecting the health of our other patients.

Patients with serious infections are isolated and cared for in appropriate spaces by trained staff. We follow best practices and strict safety and quality guidelines. We are equipped to care for these patients while protecting the health of others — including laboring mothers, babies and families and our staff.

If you or a loved one is seriously ill or injured, please do not let fear of COVID-19 keep you from getting the care you need.

I have a loved one currently receiving care at Mary Bridge Children's Hospital. Is it safe to visit them?

Mary Bridge has made some changes to our visitation policies because of the current COVID-19 situation. We may need to further revise those policies as time goes on, so please review our COVID-19 Visitor Policy to get the most up-to-date information.

We know it can be difficult to not have have access to friends and loved ones while you are in the hospital. Phone calls and video chats can be one way to stay connected while you or your loved one is in the hospital.

Should I wear a mask when coming to the Mary Bridge hospital or clinic?

Yes. Masks are required at Mary Bridge Children’s outpatient clinics for all patients, visitors and caregivers. This includes our hospital and all our outpatient clinics. We strongly encourage all patients and visitors to wear their own masks to our facilities for use during their visit. We will provide masks to those arriving without them.

What is Mary Bridge doing to ensure the safety of staff?

MultiCare’s commitment to the safety of every staff member within our health system is unwavering. We will take care of patients with COVID-19 following all the appropriate safety policies. That includes following the World Health Organization (WHO) evidence-based guidelines for personal protective equipment. The WHO guidelines have been endorsed by the Washington State Department of Health and local health departments.

Acquiring the personal protective equipment (PPE) we need to keep our patients and clinicians safe has been a large part of the work our organization has been doing to prepare for COVID-19 in our communities. COVID-19’s spread in China and other parts of the world has created a global shortage of these supplies.

MultiCare’s Supply Chain and Materials Management teams have been doing heroic work to acquire this equipment. Some steps we are taking to help keep our PPE inventory where it needs to be:

  • We have placed orders for PPE from State and Federal stockpiles.
  • We are reaching out to nontraditional sources, including industrial materials manufacturers, to locate inventory.
  • We are accepting donations of unused PPE from other organizations and generous members of the community.

All Mary Bridge and MultiCare employees have the appropriate PPE they need today to do their jobs safely.

Testing and treatment

Who is tested for COVID-19?

Not everyone needs to be tested for COVID-19. MultiCare follows evidence-based guidelines for testing based on the CDC and other sources. A call to your provider, urgent care facility or MultiCare Virtual Care services would be the first step to begin evaluating your symptoms. From there, we work with commercial, state and in-house labs to facilitate the testing.

If you are sick with fever, cough or shortness of breath and are in a high-risk group, call your health care provider right away to discuss whether you should be tested for COVID-19.

People at high risk for complications from COVID-19 are:

  • People older than 60
  • People with chronic medical conditions
  • People with compromised immune systems
  • Those who are pregnant

If you are having difficulty breathing or a life-threatening emergency, please call 911 or visit the nearest emergency department right away.

Should I get tested for COVID-19?

If you have upper respiratory symptoms — cough, fever or shortness of breath and believe you need to be evaluated for COVID-19 — please call ahead before a clinic or urgent care visit to determine if you need to visit a specific site for testing.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough or shortness of breath, or these other symptoms) or upper respiratory symptoms (sore throat, runny nose, nasal congestion), please use our Virtual Care e-visit service. MultiCare will waive any co-pays, co-insurance (if you have insurance coverage, we will bill it, however) or charges to you. If clinically appropriate, we will refer you to a site for further evaluation.

How do I access my COVID-19 test results?

There are two ways you can request copies of your COVID-19 Test Results:

  1. MyChart is MultiCare’s secure, web-based patient information portal. You can log in online from the MyChart home page, or use the MyChart mobile app, to review information from your medical record.
  2. If you are unable to access MyChart, complete a release form or write a signed and dated letter specifying what is to be released and to whom. Instructions on how to complete the form are included in the link above. You can email your completed release form or letter to [email protected] We will then process your request and securely email your results to the email we received your request from or to the email address indicated on the release form. It may take up to one business day to process your request.
What is the treatment for COVID-19?

To date, there is no vaccine and no specific medicine to prevent or treat COVID-19. However, those affected should receive care to relieve symptoms. People with serious illness should be hospitalized. Most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home.

The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to frequently clean your hands, cover your cough with the bend of elbow, and maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from people who are not part of your household, especially anyone who is coughing or sneezing. 

Can I get a COVID-19 antibody test at MultiCare?

MultiCare is able to provide antibody testing for COVID-19, if the test is ordered by a provider. Individuals are not able to request this test on their own. The test detects the presence or absence of IgG antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the type of coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 illness.

Antibody testing has been a popular topic in the news media recently and we know that many people are interested in having this test done.

However, since much is still unknown about the novel coronavirus, it is unclear that an antibody test will provide individuals with any useful information at this time. This is due to a number of factors:

  • We don’t yet know if a person who tests positive for antibodies is immune to the illness.
  • The presence of antibodies does not mean that you are no longer sick or contagious.
  • We don’t yet know how long a person exposed to the virus will produce antibodies.
  • The presence of antibodies for other kinds of coronaviruses may generate a false positive result for antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19.

What this means is that right now antibody testing for COVID-19 is primarily useful for ongoing research studies about the novel coronavirus and the spread of COVID-19. It is unlikely to provide you with any actionable information about your health.

Your provider can discuss antibody testing with you in more detail and together you can decide if this is a test that you should take.

What is a self-quarantine and why is it used?

Quarantine is put into place to prevent the possible spread of an infectious disease from someone who may have been exposed to the disease but is not yet sick. When people are quarantined, they are kept separate from others until they are out of the period when they could get sick. During that time, health officials track their health so that if they do develop symptoms, they can get them to a health care provider quickly for evaluation, testing if needed, and care.

When people are in self-quarantine, they have no symptoms, but because there is a possibility that they might have been exposed, they stay away from others in public settings. For 14 days from their last possible exposure, people in self-quarantine cannot go to work, school, or any public places where they could have close contact with others. In some cases, public health departments direct them in how to monitor their health so that should they develop symptoms, they can be quickly and safely isolated from all others, including those in their household. Anyone can decide to self-quarantine. They do not have to be directed to do so by the health department or other health authorities.

Will I be billed for COVID-19 treatment?

The MultiCare price for a COVID-19 diagnostic lab test is $300. Uninsured patients are eligible for a 40 percent discount resulting in a cash pay price of $180.

Many insurance plans have agreed to waive patient balances related to COVID-19. Because each insurance company varies slightly in its implementation, MultiCare does not have the information necessary to accurately answer questions about bills patients may have received for COVID-19 care. If you’ve received such a bill, please contact your insurance company if you have questions about how your bill was processed.

If you have received a statement for services related to COVID-19 and are uninsured or would like information regarding financial aid, please contact our Patient Financial Experience team at 800-919-1936.

COVID-19 research at MultiCare

MultiCare’s Institute for Research & Innovation’s physician-researchers at all MultiCare hospitals in the Puget Sound and Inland Northwest regions offering multiple clinical trials for COVID-19. To learn more about MultiCare’s COVID-19 research activities and/or identify a clinical trial, please visit the Research Institute’s website.