Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Mask Up WisconsinThe 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? 
Everything you should and shouldn’t do to stay healthy on a plane

Where can I learn more about COVID-19 vaccines?

Wisconsin DHS COVID Vaccine MapDuring 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 for important information related to patient vaccinations.

More Resources

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 or call (608) 262-8300.

Information from UW Health

Trusted Health Resources

Resources for Patients and Families

Wisconsin Community Testing

Do you have symptoms of COVID-19? Have you been exposed? You may be able to get tested.

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).

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BerbeeWalsh Department of Emergency Medicine     UW Health