The University of Wisconsin Department of Emergency Medicine is committed to providing reliable and helpful information to individuals and families during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. For information and questions about symptoms, visitor guidelines, vaccines, and talking to a healthcare provider, please visit the UW Health COVID-19 website.
If you have COVID-19 symptoms, please call or send a MyChart message to your physician and wait for a response. Do not go to Urgent Care or the Emergency Department.
What is Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)?
UW Health and the University of Wisconsin are closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2 that continues to expand. On February 11, 2020, the World Health Organization named this disease coronavirus disease 2019 (abbreviated “COVID-19”).
In order to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services recommends the following preventative measures:
Wear a face covering
Science shows that wearing a face covering can prevent the transmission of the respiratory droplets that spread COVID-19. Everyone should pack a mask when leaving their home. If you are unvaccinated, wear one in all indoor spaces that are not your home, as well as enclosed or crowded outdoor spaces, such as outdoor restaurants or bars, festivals, sporting events, and concerts.
If you are fully vaccinated, you may choose to wear a mask around unvaccinated people at an increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease. You should also wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days after close contact with someone with COVID-19, or until you receive a negative test result. Please follow emergency orders or mandates regarding mask-wearing set forth by your local health department.
Stay home when you are sick
Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care/
Health care settings such as UW Health may requirebarrier masks, physical distancing, or limited visitor guidelines. Check with your provider's office if you have questions about current policies. Public health officials encourage members of the public who are fully vaccinated to visit the CDC's website for the most up-to-date recommendations.
Practice good hand hygiene
• Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
• Avoid touching your face, eyes, and mouth when in public.
Understand the potential risks of going out
As communities and businesses are opening, you may be looking for ways to resume some daily activities as safely as possible. It is important to understand potential risks and how to adopt different types of prevention measures to protect yourself and to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
In general, the more closely you interact with others and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. If you decide to engage in public activities, continue to protect yourself by practicing everyday preventive actions. Keep these items on hand when venturing out: a mask, tissues, and a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, if possible.
To better understand the risks of daily activities and leaving your home, visit the CDC's website . If you live in Wisconsin, visit the Department of Health Services COVID-19 website for the latest health and safety recommendations in your area.
Where can I learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and boosters?
Learn more about vaccine eligibility and find and connect with vaccine providers in your area by visiting the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website.
And because there is so much information in the news, it is not always clear what is happening or what the updates mean. Visit UW Health's COVID-19 vaccines FAQs to learn more. Members of eligible populations with a primary care provider at UW Health can visit uwhealth.org/vaccine for important information related to patient vaccinations.
UW Health offers the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11. For questions about the vaccine, please visit its frequently asked questions page about the COVID-19 vaccine and kids.
Additional information for patients and families can be found below:
Trusted Health Resources
- Public Health Madison & Dane County
- Wisconsin Department of Health Services
- University of Wisconsin-Madison COVID-19 website
- University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health operations updates
- UW Health COVID-19 information
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)
- American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
Donating Convalescent Plasma
Convalescent plasma is plasma from the blood of people who have recovered from COVID-19 which has been authorized to treat people who are currently in the hospital fighting the virus. Donating this plasma once you've recovered from COVID-19 can help treat others battling the virus.
Patients who have recovered from COVID-19 and would like to learn more about donating their plasma can e-mail email@example.com or call (608) 262-8300.
COVID-19 Testing & Vaccines
To learn more about COVID-19 testing and vaccines, and to find resources for local area businesses, visit these trusted resources:
If you are experiencing COVID symptoms, even if you are vaccinated, stay home from work, school, and other activities and get tested
If you or someone you know is looking for options to get vaccinated or get a booster shot, schedule an appointment at one of our office locations or drop by one of Dane County's community pop-up clinics. Information from UW Health on COVID-19 vaccines and kids including information about the third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for immunocompromised patients
If you are a business owner, ‘masks encouraged’ signs are available on the Public Health Madison & Dane County website
In this era of COVID-19, misinformation and misunderstanding abounds. A recent example: People citing HIPAA as an excuse for not sharing their vaccination status.
HIPAA — the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act — is a federal regulation that protects patients' information from being shared without their consent by health care providers and those with whom they do business.
An article by Wisconsin Public Radio debunks myths about what is covered — and what isn't — under the federal health privacy law. Read, listen, or download the article in print and audio forms here.