Frequently Asked Questions on COVID-19
What is the delta variant?
The delta variant is a strain of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. It is more transmissible than earlier strains of the virus and became the dominant strain in the United States in July 2021. Learn more about the delta variant.
- How do I get a test?
Should I be tested?
If you think you've been exposed to COVID-19, are experiencing symptoms or need to learn more about testing, an E-Visit is your best option. You'll answer a series of questions in MyChart about your symptoms. A provider will evaluate your answers and provide you with next steps for testing and care. Learn more about E-Visits, or start one now by logging into MyChart.
Or, if you prefer to speak with someone, call your health care provider's office.
How do I know if I have been exposed to or in close contact with someone who has COVID-19?
If you have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days in these circumstances, you have been exposed.
- Have touched, hugged or had any direct physical contact with the person
- Have been within six feet of a known positive person for at least 15 minutes total in a 24-hour period, regardless if you wear a mask
- Are living with the person or stayed with them overnight for at least one night
Start an E-Visit to receive your next steps for testing and care. Or, call your health care provider's office.
- What is coronavirus (COVID-19)?
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Call your health care professional if these symptoms appear within 2 to 14 days of close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or if you recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19.
- How does coronavirus (COVID-19) spread?
Who is most at risk?
Anyone exposed to SARS-CoV-2 is at risk of infection. There is limited information about how COVID-19 affects high-risk groups. It’s believed that the individuals most at risk for developing a severe illness from COVID-19 are adults ages 65 and older, people with suppressed immune systems and people with underlying medical conditions such as:
- Chronic lung disease
- Chronic kidney disease
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
If I’m considered high risk, what should I do?
To protect yourself from coronavirus, stay home as much as you can. Ensure you have enough medication (prescription and over-the-counter), groceries and household items in case you need to be in your home for an extended period of time. If you do need to go out in public, keep at least six feet away from others who are showing symptoms. Wash your hands often. Regularly disinfect frequently touched surfaces in your home.
- What is the cash price for the coronavirus diagnostic lab test at Froedtert & MCW testing locations?
What do I do if I test positive?
Stay home, and stay away from those you live with as much as possible. Most people who test positive for COVID-19 recover at home without additional medical treatment. Keep in touch with your provider using MyChart or telehealth visits whenever possible. If you need to see your provider in person, call before visiting to help staff minimize the risk of exposure to our patients and care team.
If your condition worsens or you experience severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing or chest pain or pressure, call 911.
How can I prevent the spread of COVID-19?
Social distancing can help slow the spread of COVID-19 in your community. Stay home whenever possible, especially if you or a family member are feeling sick. If you need to go out in public, practice social distancing by staying at least six feet away from others and wash your hands once you return home.
Along with practicing good hygiene, the following tips can help prevent you and others from becoming infected:
- Avoid direct contact with people who have symptoms.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water immediately after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
- Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
- If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60% to 95% alcohol.
- Clean and disinfect items and surfaces that are frequently touched using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Individuals who are not fully vaccinated, including children older than two, should continue to wear masks in most settings. For individuals who are fully vaccinated, the CDC recommends wearing non-medical disposable masks (not N95 masks or other respirators) or cloth face masks in public settings in areas of substantial or high transmission. New data suggests that wearing two masks may provide additional protection over wearing one. The most important issue is the fit of the mask so that it fully covers your nose and mouth. If you use a single cloth mask, make sure it is made of multiple layers of fabric and has a nose wire that can be positioned to prevent air from leaking out the top of the mask. Learn more about the most effective face masks to wear.
Should I wear a mask?
Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced new masking guidelines for individuals who are fully vaccinated. These guidelines are intended for daily activities and we encourage all to follow them. For settings like hospitals and health care clinics, the CDC continues to recommend masks, social distancing, screening and other precautions. For everyone’s safety, all individuals within our facilities will continue to be required to wear a face covering.
Can I travel?
The CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to several worldwide destinations. If you were in a country with a COVID-19 outbreak and feel sick with fever, cough or are having difficulty breathing within 14 days after you left, you should:
- Seek medical attention. If you have symptoms or have COVID-19 concerns, please call your health care provider or the location BEFORE visiting the health care facility. This allows staff to properly prepare for your arrival and evaluate your symptoms for risk of COVID-19.
- Wear a mask to help prevent spread of the disease to others.
- Avoid contact with others.
- Avoid traveling on public transportation while sick.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water often to avoid spreading the virus to others.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
Our Travel Medicine Program and Travel Health Clinic provide general guidance for all of your travel plans.
What is the Froedtert & MCW health network doing about COVID-19?
The Froedtert & MCW health network is following the situation closely and implementing all recommendations provided by our local and state departments of health and the CDC. Our medical staff has received extensive information and training on protocols to recognize, isolate and evaluate patients who may have COVID-19.
How is Froedtert & MCW health network protecting patients and staff?
We have implemented screening protocols to quickly identify persons who may have COVID-19 infection. Patients are first screened over the phone for risk factors and symptoms. If the patient is stable, screening, reporting and testing approval are done prior to the patient entering one of our facilities. If a patient requires medical care, the patient will need to go to a Froedtert & MCW emergency department. The emergency department should be notified in advance of patient details and suspicion of COVID-19.
When people who may have COVID-19 are identified, steps are taken to prevent transmission to other patients and personnel. These measures include asking the patient to wear a surgical mask, placing the patient in an isolation room and having personnel wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including an N95 respirator, gown, gloves and eye protection.
Like many other health systems around southeast Wisconsin and the U.S., the Froedtert & MCW health network considers being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to be a condition of employment. To keep everyone safe, our staff and providers are required to get vaccinated unless they qualify for a medical or religious exemption.
As we look to the future, you can count on us to do all that is possible to reduce risk, exposure and stress through safe and exceptional care options, both virtually and in-person.
Learn more about our safety precautions.
Getting Care During the Pandemic
We recognize that you may have put some things on hold because of the COVID-19 situation, but care for urgent conditions, whether new or existing, should not be delayed. We continue to encourage the use of scheduled and on-demand virtual visits. And, with the help of our academic health experts and continued guidance from our local and state departments of health and the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we have developed a plan to safely conduct in-person visits when needed.
How Does COVID-19 Affect My Care?
Froedtert & MCW locations may temporarily suspend surgeries that are not time sensitive. If your upcoming appointment or surgery is canceled, you will get a phone call from our staff. If you have questions, contact your provider’s office.
If you have a scheduled appointment at one of our facilities, please do not cancel it. Our staff will contact you in the days prior to your appointment to discuss options for receiving care, which may include a virtual visit by video. If your concern is best handled through an in-person visit, know we are taking every precaution to ensure our facilities and caregivers are safe for your visit. Learn more about what to expect during your in-person visit.
Current Visitor Limitations
To keep patients, visitors and staff safe, Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin health network adheres to the following guidelines regarding visitors, volunteers and events. These guidelines are based on the most current recommendations from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Wisconsin’s Safer at Home order being lifted does not change these guidelines. Thank you for helping to keep our community safe.
Location Hours Changes
Some locations may have adjusted their hours. Visit our locations for the most up-to-date information and hours for each location.
If you have symptoms (fever, cough or shortness of breath) or COVID-19 concerns, please call your primary care provider BEFORE visiting a health care facility.
From miraculous cures to overwhelming displays of support to compassionate care for the very ill — we've gathered stories that will warm your heart.