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A Statement from Baptist Memorial Healthcare regarding COVID-19


Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis is treating the first positive Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patient in Shelby County. This patient is receiving excellent care, and we are following all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to protect patients, visitors and employees. As issues surrounding COVID-19 continue to develop in the Mid-South, Baptist Memorial Health Care is committed to providing all the information you need about the virus and how you can protect yourself and your loved ones.

We are screening all patients arriving at all Baptist hospitals and clinics for the following factors that may indicate a COVID-19 infection:

  • Recent travel to high-risk areas
  • Close contact with confirmed COVID-19 patients
  • Fever and flu-like symptoms

For the safety of our patients and staff, we take the following precautions with all patients determined to be at-risk for COVID-19:

  • We immediately isolate them.
  • We put them in personal protective equipment (face shields, gloves, goggles and glasses, gowns, head covers and shoe covers).
  • All health care workers who interact with or treat the patient wear personal protective equipment.
  • Our electronic health record links directly to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC’s) travel alert system, which helps us screen for all emerging infectious diseases, including COVID-19.
  • Systemwide, we have more than 100 negative pressure rooms, where we place contagious patients to contain their illness.
  • We’ve posted signage in all our hospitals and physician offices asking patients to tell a staff member immediately if they have flu-like symptoms.
  • We ask patients to put on a mask immediately if they have flu-like symptoms to protect other patients from illness.

While the risk of contracting COVID-19 in the Baptist footprint of Central and North Mississippi, Northeast Arkansas and West Tennessee — including the Memphis metro area — is low, we strongly encourage taking precautions to avoid contracting and spreading the virus.

On this page, you can learn more about COVID-19, preventive and protective measures you can take, and what to do if you suspect you might have it.


Coronaviruses are large families of viruses that can cause illnesses such as the common cold, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). In 2019, a new coronavirus – called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) – was identified as the cause of disease outbreak in China. This virus causes the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).


COVID-19 is a flu-like illness whose symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Muscle/body aches
  • Difficulty breathing

Contact your doctor or your health care facility of choice right away if you have symptoms and you’ve possibly been exposed to the virus.

If you have mild to moderate symptoms, call your doctor. Please DO NOT go to a doctor’s office for testing or treatment unless your doctor has instructed you to do so. If you don’t have a doctor, you can find one one here.

If you have more severe symptoms and need to go to the hospital, please call the facility and report symptoms, recent travel and possible exposure BEFORE going there.

You may also want to have an on-demand video visit or e-visit instead of an office visit. If you are a Baptist Medical Group patient in Tennessee and have a MyChart account, you don’t have to leave your home to be examined by a health care professional and get a prescription. On-demand video visits and e-visits are great options if you don’t feel well enough to get to your doctor’s office, don’t want to risk exposure to other sick patients, or are concerned about being exposed to sick patients.

PLEASE NOTE: You must pay an up-front fee for on-demand video visits and e-visits. If you have to come to a health care facility to be tested after conducting an on-demand video visit or an e-visit, you will have to pay an additional fee.


The virus is thought to spread mainly from person to person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet for at least 10 minutes).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. They also can land on surfaces and live for several hours, so please wash your hands before touching your nose, eyes, or mouth.

Elderly people, individuals with compromised immune systems, patients with heart disease or liver disease, and patients receiving immuno-suppressant therapies are at a higher risk of contracting the virus and developing more serious medical complications such as pneumonia or bronchitis.

  • Check your prescription drugs to ensure you have a continuous supply in your home.
  • Have non-prescription drugs and other health supplies on hand, including pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes and vitamins.
  • Check your electronic health records, like your MyChart account, and store a printed version for personal reference.
  • Check in with your friends and family members regularly.
  • Prepare a household plan

If you develop COVID-19 and are quarantined, you will need a two-week supply of food and possibly water.


The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, there are many everyday preventive actions you can take to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, beginning with good hand hygiene.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, or the time it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" twice.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash your hands with soap and water if they are visibly dirty.

Other important ways you can prevent illness:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid covering your coughs and sneezes with your hands. Instead, cover them with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands, or cough or sneeze into your upper arm.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.

Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).


There is no definitive answer for that; it all depends on where you are going and what you plan to do when you get there. If you are planning on traveling outside the US, we recommend you pay attention to CDC and US State Department travel advisories after new reports of outbreaks are released.


The CDC, the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization are constantly releasing new information. We recommend you visit their websites on a regular basis, as well, for the latest information and updates.

Additional links to information you can use:


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