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
Wisconsin has significant community spread, and the science shows that wearing a face covering can prevent the transmission of the respiratory droplets that spread COVID-19.
On November 20, Governor Tony Evers issued Executive Order 95, declaring a public health emergency, and corresponding Emergency Order 1, regarding face coverings in certain situations for people over the age of 5. Face coverings are required to be worn whenever you are indoors or in an enclosed space, other than a private residence, and other people are present in the same room or space. Learn more...
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 gatherings of 10 or more people.
• 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.
Enjoy the holidays safely
More than 1 million COVID-19 cases were reported in the United States over the last 7 days. As cases continue to increase rapidly across the United States, the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate at home with the people you live with. Gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu.
Holiday celebrations will likely need to be different this year to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Avoid activities that are higher risk for spread. Consider fun alternatives that pose lower risk of spreading COVID-19 and check out Public Health of Madison & Dane County's Tips for a Healthier Holiday Season.
*And remember, Mr. and Mrs. Claus are in a high-risk group for contracting COVID-19 since they are several hundred years old, so make a plan to write a letter to Santa instead of visiting him in person this year.
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 there are several steps to go before vaccines are available to the general public.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
For individuals and caregivers:
- UW-Madison: Managing fears and anxieties around COVID-19
- World Health Organization: Coping with stress during the 2019-nCoV outbreak
- CDC: Managing anxiety and stress (CDC Resource)
- WI DHS: Learn what to clean, how to clean and disinfect, and what products to use
- Governor Evers: FAQs about the Safer at Home order issued March 24, 2020
- Washington Post: Which outdoor sports and athletic activities are safe during a pandemic?
For parents and families:
- UW Health: Finding ways to support young athletes during uncertain fall, winter sports seasons
- 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
- 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
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).