The 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 Room.
What is Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)?
UW Health and the University of Wisconsin are closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) 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.
When should I wear a face covering?
• Indoor spaces when you are not at home
• Enclosed spaces such as outdoor restaurants or bars, public transportation, and ride-shares
• Any other outdoor spaces in which physical distancing is difficult
Avoid close contact with others and practice physical distancing
• Stay at home as much as possible. Cancel events and avoid groups, gatherings, play dates, and nonessential appointments
• Avoid mass gatherings
• Stay at least 6 feet away from other people, when possible
• Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care
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. While there is no way to ensure zero risk of infection, 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.
Tips from the experts:
Hitting the road for spring travel? Here’s what to know about your rest-stop risks
Here’s what experts want you to know before taking a road trip during the pandemic
We’re traveling cross-country by car. Are we being irresponsible?
Where can I learn more about COVID-19 vaccines?
During these challenging times, one bright spot is the rapid progression of the development and regulatory approval of the COVID-19 vaccines. While things are looking positive, it is important to remember that eligibility for the vaccine has been determined by health experts in order of greatest need. You can keep up to date with which populations are eligible and find and connect with vaccine providers in your area using the map of vaccine providers created by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
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.
Additional information for patients and families can be found below:
Donating Convalescent Plasma
While COVID-19 vaccines have been approved and limited vaccinations have begun, it will be several months before vaccines are widely available.Tthere remains a critical need for convalescent plasma donations to help patients currently hospitalized with COVID-19.
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. There is a critical shortage of convalescent plasma in the Midwest. 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.
Information from UW Health
- What does physical distancing mean?
- Frequently asked questions
- Information for deaf patients
- Un mensaje importante sobre COVID-19
- Use of NSAIDS, ACE inhibitors, ARBs or RAAS in suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients
- Seeking heart attack care during COVID-19
Call first! If you have 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 Room. Read more...
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)
- Coronavirus.gov (information and resources from the federal government)
- Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)
Resources for Patients and Families
WI DHS: COVID-19 Decision Tool for Individuals and Families
If you are thinking about leaving your home to participate in activities within or outside of your community, the decision tool below can help you decide. Ask yourself the questions in each section to think through how your decision might impact yourself and the people you are in contact with.
For individuals and caregivers:
- UW-Madison weekly Q&A about all things COVID
- UW-Madison: Managing fears and anxieties around COVID-19
- World Health Organization: Advice for the public about COVID-19
- CDC: Managing anxiety and stress (CDC Resource)
- WI DHS: Learn what to clean, how to clean and disinfect, and what products to use
- WI DHS: Unequal and unjust impact of COVID-19
For parents and families:
- UW Pediatrician: How to help your teenager manage stress during COVID-19 pandemic
- UW Health: How to help kids cope during the uncertainty of Coronavirus
- AAP: Finding ways to keep children occupied during these challenging times
- New York Times: Handling Your Kid’s Disappointment When Everything Is Canceled
- Center for Healthy Minds: Well-Being Toolkit for Children, Educators and Parents
- HealthyChildren.org: Social Distancing: Why Keeping Your Distance Helps Keep Others Safe
- PBS Kids: Parent Resources, Tips and Advice
- Transitions ACR: Parents Chime In: Our Self-Care Strategies While Supporting Loved Ones with Mental Health Conditions During a Pandemic
Wisconsin Community Testing
Do you have symptoms of COVID-19? Have you been exposed? You may be able to get tested.
- Contact your doctor and ask to be tested.
- Complete an online health screening assessment, and a licensed health practitioner will contact you.
- See if a community testing site is available near you.
Members of the public who think they may have been exposed to coronavirus in the past can seek antibody testing through these health providers:
Faculty, staff and students of UW-Madison should review information through University Health Services (UHS).