What You Need to Know About COVID-19
Sanford Health is committed to the health of our patients, our employees and the communities we serve. Whether you have concerns about coronavirus or need medical care, we’re here to help and want you to feel safe.
As the pandemic continues to evolve, we will continue to provide the public with the most current coronavirus information. Learn more about what you need to know to stay safe during the pandemic below. View the symptoms of COVID-19.
Keep Your Appointments
We’re ready to care for you. Our clinics are following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to keep our patients and providers healthy. We’re taking safety precautions at all of our locations.
It is safe to seek care through an in-clinic appointment.
We’re also encouraging patients to explore their virtual appointment options. You can see a provider from the comfort of home by smartphone, computer or tablet. Learn more about our virtual care options.
Are COVID-19 tests accurate?
If you get a negative test result but are experiencing symptoms or know you were exposed, please continue quarantining to protect those around you. You can get a false negative if the test was administered too soon or too late into the infection.
What is antibody testing?
Antibody tests check your blood for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Antibodies are a response formed by your immune system to attack a virus.
A positive antibody test is presumed to mean you were likely exposed to COVID-19 at some point. Currently, there’s not enough research to know for sure if the presence of antibodies means you’re protected against reinfection.
You do not need a physician referral to get an antibody test. The test costs $20 and is not billed to your insurance. Payment is required at the time of service.
Antibody tests include a blood draw. You can expect to be in the clinic for around 20 minutes, just as you would for any other blood draw.
What is antigen testing?
Antigen tests can indicate if a patient currently has a COVID-19 infection. It tests for specific proteins from the COVID-19 virus with a nasal swab that doesn’t need to go as deep into the sinus area. The results usually come back within 15 minutes, faster than other existing tests.
Antigen tests will become available in phases.
Can I get my prescription without visiting a pharmacy?
Yes. Sanford Health and many area pharmacies offer delivery and mail-order services. Patients should call their pharmacy to confirm these services are available.
Do I need to wear a mask after I recover from COVID-19 or get vaccinated?
Yes. In both of those cases, you can still contract COVID-19.
Although we have learned a lot about this virus in the past year, there are still many unknowns. We do not know how long immunity lasts after you recover from COVID-19, and there have been documented cases of reinfection within Sanford Health’s footprint. We recommend you still wear a mask after contracting the virus.
After your first vaccine dose, it is possible to get sick with COVID-19 and spread it to others because this dose only starts to build protection. It is important to continue to wear a mask, wash your hands and social distance. Your second dose will achieve 95% efficacy.
Because the vaccine does not provide 100% protection against the virus, we still recommend that everyone wear a mask when possible. Until directed by the CDC, please continue to take precautions.
What should I do if I have symptoms or think I have been exposed to COVID-19?
You can talk to a physician or provider through one of these three routes:
Schedule an E-Visit
Log in to My Sanford Chart to request an e-visit. Select your reason for an e-visit and follow the prompts. Submit your request for an e-visit, and a Sanford Health physician will respond to you within four hours through My Sanford Chart.
Call your doctor’s office
Do not go directly to your clinic. We’re asking anyone who feels they may have coronavirus to call their regular provider. This is for the health and safety of our patients and employees. Call your clinic instead and follow their instructions.
We also ask that you don’t go to the emergency room for COVID-19 testing. The emergency room is for patients who are critically ill. If you are experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath or other potentially life-threatening problems, call 911 or go to your closest emergency room.
Call My Sanford Nurse
If you are not a current Sanford Health patient and you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, or were recently exposed to the virus, call My Sanford Nurse. A Sanford Health nurse will ask you questions about your symptoms, your previously traveled locations and if you have been in contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
COVID-19 tests are usually covered by insurance.
How can we prevent COVID-19 from spreading?
The virus spreads person-to-person through airborne transmission. Respiratory droplets can pass between people who are less than 6 feet apart. Even if you feel healthy, you could be asymptomatic and infectious.
One of the most effective ways to keep coronavirus from spreading is to wear a cloth or surgical face mask. You should wear a mask when around others – even if you’ve been vaccinated or have already recovered from COVID-19. While experts learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine’s protection, the CDC still recommends the use of face masks.
You can protect the most vulnerable by taking precautions. Your actions can keep others safe.
Follow these guidelines:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home as much as possible.
- Stay 6 feet away from others.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a face mask when around others.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Practice good respiratory and hand hygiene:
- Cover your coughs and sneezes.
- Wash your hands often (for at least 20 seconds) and use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
How is COVID-19 treated?
Coronavirus treatment is supportive care (treating the symptoms). Sanford Health is offering several programs to help our COVID-19 patients.
All of our patients are enrolled in a home monitoring program after a positive test result or a COVID-19 hospital stay. The program checks on patients daily through My Sanford Chart messages. Patients are asked about their symptoms, temperature and oxygen level. Any devices they need, such as a thermometer or oxygen saturation monitor, will be provided if they don’t have access to them. Learn more about the home monitoring program.
For select populations, Sanford Health offers outpatient therapies for COVID-19. These treatments give coronavirus patients who are at a high risk for hospitalization access to cutting-edge antibody therapies. Antibody infusion therapy has been shown to prevent certain populations from developing a severe illness. Primary care physicians and providers can also make direct referrals to identify qualifying patients. The treatment must be ordered by a physician. Read more about antibody therapies.
Mass vaccinations are our best chance at slowing the spread of coronavirus. Vaccines have been developed, approved by the Food and Drug Administration through Emergency Use Authorization and are being administered to select populations. At this time, the vaccines are not available to most people due to a limited supply. Get the latest information on the coronavirus vaccine.
Sanford Health’s Commitment to You
We’re dedicated to keeping you and your community safe.
To prevent the spread of coronavirus, we’re taking these precautions:
- Screening employees and patients for potential COVID-19 symptoms and exposures before they’re allowed in a Sanford Health location.
- Following CDC cleaning recommendations, including cleaning and sanitizing several times a day.
- Rearranging waiting rooms to allow for social distancing.
- Requiring face masks to be worn at all times for our employees, patients and visitors. Learn what the best masks are.
- Providing a steady supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) for the safety of our providers, caregivers, patients and residents. Learn more about our PPE supply.
- Limiting personnel and visitors at our locations.
- Creating separate designated areas for our COVID-19 patients at our hospitals.
Cough or sore throat
New shortness of breath
New muscle pains
New loss of taste or smell
Nausea or vomiting
New headache or excessive fatigue
Congestion or runny nose