A Message From Our CEO

March 14, 2020 – Emory Healthcare is committed to improving lives and providing hope for the patients, families, and communities who put their trust in us. We will continue to do so as we respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Since the first cases of the novel coronavirus were reported in Wuhan, China, our team has been working with colleagues and organizations around the world, including the Centers for Disease Control and Georgia Department of Public Health. Our staff and physicians are ready to provide the best care for anyone who walks through our doors.  

While COVID-19 is a new infection, and we continue to learn more about it, responding to serious infections is not new to us. In 2014, our team successfully cared for patients with Ebola virus disease, and we continue to use what we learned to keep our patients and staff safe today.  

We are dedicated to ensuring you have access to the latest information and guidance to help you stay healthy. Please be aware that the situation is fluid, and recommendations are subject to change. The following are some things to know about COVID-19 and Emory Healthcare’s preparedness.

How does COVID-19 spread?

We believe it has a lot in common with how the flu and many other respiratory infections spread:

  • When an infected person coughs or sneezes, they send droplets into the air.
  • People nearby (within about six feet) can breathe in these droplets and become infected.
  • It is also possible that the virus can briefly live on surfaces. If that happens, then touching a contaminated surface and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes could lead to infection.

How can I protect myself?

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer made with at least 60% alcohol. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. 
  • Cover your cough or sneeze.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Avoid close contact with others who are sick. 
  • Clean and disinfect frequently used areas.

What do I do if I have symptoms or have been exposed?

If you think you have COVID-19, the best thing to do is stay home and isolate yourself. Always call your health care provider before going to the office. Avoid going to an emergency room unless you have symptoms like:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Persistent high fevers
  • Worsening symptoms after you initially started to feel better

Your health care provider will determine if you need to be tested. Testing is most important if you have symptoms of a fever or respiratory infection, and one of the following: 

  • Are sick enough to need to be in a hospital.
  • Have risk factors for a more severe infection, like heart, lung, or kidney disease, diabetes, or a compromised immune system.
  • Work or live in a communal setting (e.g. a hospital, daycare, college dorm, or nursing home).

What are we doing to protect you?

All of our clinical sites have an Infection Prevention and Control team to ensure patient safety. If you have a cough or fever, we will ask you to wear a mask when in one of our facilities to protect both you and others. We will also wear protective equipment when taking care of you so that we do not spread infections between patients. Because the virus may survive on surfaces for some time, we wipe down commonly used areas several times a day with disinfectants. Plus, when possible, we ask that you avoid bringing family members to appointments as it increases exposure. We will continue to work with state and local officials to stay up-to-date on the latest developments.

Please bookmark this site and check it for the most up-to-date information on screening and other questions.

Thank you for trusting Emory Healthcare for all your health care needs.

Sincerely, 

Jonathan S. Lewin, MD, FACR
Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, Emory University
Executive Director, Woodruff Health Sciences Center
President, CEO and Chairman of the Board, Emory Healthcare