Frequently Asked Questions About the New Coronavirus (COVID-19)

At Munson Healthcare, we are honored to be your trusted healthcare partner. We understand that COVID-19 is top of mind for many people in our community. On this page, you will find answers to many of the frequently asked questions that we are receiving.


Emergencies Shouldn't Stay Home.

Don't Risk It. Call 911.

Heart attacks, stroke, and other emergencies don't stop during crises like COVID-19. Don't ignore the warning signs – Call 911 and get immediate medical attention for what could be a life-threatening emergency. Our Health Care Team is still here for you, providing safe, expert, compassionate care. 


Face Masks


Why is Munson Healthcare moving to universal masking?

Given what we have learned about COVID-19, this universal masking approach will serve to:

  • Protect our Healthcare Team, patients and visitors if contact occurs with an asymptomatic COVID-19 carrier or if they develop symptoms while at work (a mask achieves source control and decreases the risk of spreading infection).
  • Protect our Healthcare Team should they come in close contact with an individual with either  asymptomatic or mild COVID-19 infection or who has symptoms that have not yet been recognized.

Why is Munson Healthcare recommending a surgical mask and not an N95 respirator?

Similar to influenza and other respiratory viruses, COVID-19 appears to be transmitted primarily through large respiratory droplets. Surgical masks protect against respiratory droplet spread. Wearing surgical masks in a more generalized manner may help to prevent spread from persons with asymptomatic shedding or persons with very mild disease. 

In contrast, N95 respirators are used in clinical situations where aerosolization is occurring.  This is for specific clinical situations, such as when a patient is intubated or undergoes bronchoscopy. 


Does the universal masking policy apply to every member of the Healthcare Team, patients and visitors throughout the Munson Healthcare system?

The universal masking policy applies to all areas where clinical care is provided. These areas are defined as all locations in our hospitals, ambulatory clinics, community health centers, Home Health and Hospice House. The Munson Healthcare team will be required to wear a Munson Healthcare issued surgical mask. Patients and visitors can choose to wear a hand-sewn mask or purchased mask if they are not torn and clean or a Munson-issued surgical mask if available.


Should visitors be wearing face masks?

Yes, all approved visitors will be expected to wear a mask when in a clinical facility other than when eating or drinking. They will receive a mask and paper bag at the screener station and will be asked to use it again if they return to the facility.


Should all patients be wearing face masks?

Yes, patients should wear a mask in any waiting area and any time someone else is in their room. If a patient is alone in their room, they make take off the mask. When taking their mask off, they should place their mask in the bag and sanitize their hands. To put the mask back on, they should sanitize their hands, take the mask out of the bag, put the mask back on their face, and sanitize their hands again. 


Is there a mask shortage?

At this time, Munson Healthcare has an adequate, but not inexhaustible, stock of medically approved surgical and masks and N95 respirators. In an effort to maintain the supply and ensure availability in the future, conservation of masks is essential now. Munson Healthcare is providing staff education and deploying conservation tactics to monitor equipment supply. Munson Healthcare Supply Chain is working diligently to secure additional stocks of surgical masks and N95 respirators. How to donate >>


I made my own mask, can I wear it into Munson?

Approved visitors may wear hand-sewn masks into all Munson Healthcare facilities if they are clean and not torn. If a visitor does not have a mask, they will be provided with one. Munson Healthcare employees are not permitted to wear hand-sewn masks independently and will be issued a Munson Healthcare surgical mask.


Are you still accepting hand-sewn and donated masks?

Yes, Munson Healthcare is still accepting hand-sewn masks, donated masks and supplies.  The hand-sewn masks are carefully inspected and put into use for visitors and patients if needed or requested. Donated masks and supplies are also carefully inspected and put into use based on their classification and condition. How to donate >>


Visitor Restrictions


What visitation restrictions are in place for Munson Healthcare facilities?

Munson Healthcare currently has restrictions for people entering our facilities for purposes other than to receive medical care, treatment, services, equipment, or supplies for themselves. Learn more >>


Where can I find information about Munson Healthcare cancellations and closures?

The safety of our patients, healthcare team, and the community is our top priority. As a result, some of our programs have been closed or cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. View the list >>


New Coronavirus - Symptoms, Prevention, Finding Information


What is the new coronavirus?

There are several different types of human coronaviruses, which were first discovered in the 1960s. Each year people all over the world are infected with various types of coronaviruses, according to the CDC. The most common types include 229E, NL63, OC43, and HKU1.

In early January, the World Health Organization announced that a new strain of coronavirus – SARS-CoV-2 – was identified in China. Like other coronaviruses, SARS-CoV-2 can cause respiratory-type illnesses. The most common reported symptoms are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. This novel coronavirus video from the World Health Organization (WHO) provides more information. >>


What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Like other diseases causes by coronaviruses, COVID-19 can cause respiratory-type illnesses. Not all people who contract COVID-19 show symptoms. The symptoms that do surface can range from mild to life-threatening. The most common reported symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue

I think I may have COVID-19. What should I do?

If you are mild to moderately sick, health officials at the Health Department and Munson Healthcare ask that you please stay home and take care of yourself. For conditions that can be classified as more severe and would require a healthcare visit, please follow this process:

  • Again, IF you are moderately to mildly sick – please stay home.
  • Call your healthcare provider before you visit any healthcare facility.
  • Do NOT go to the Emergency Room unless you are sick enough to require emergency care.
  • Your primary care provider will give you direction regarding testing.
  • A doctor's order is REQUIRED for COVID-19 testing.  

How can I protect myself and my loved ones from COVID-19?  

It may sound simple, but washing your hands is one of the best ways you can protect yourself and your loved ones and prevent the spread of all viruses, including the new coronavirus. In addition, there are seven more things you can do today to help protect you and others from all viruses. Learn more >>


Where can I find more information?

Munson Healthcare will continue to provide regular updates and you can follow us on Facebook as COVID-19 evolves. You can also find trusted health information on the World Health Organization (WHO) website.


I see individuals wearing scrubs in public. Should I be worried?

Wearing scrubs outside a medical facility is NOT a threat to community health. Healthcare professionals are required to wear medical gowns when treating infectious patients. There is no risk of scrubs transmitting the new coronavirus to the public.


If you have general health-related questions about COVID-19, call 231-935-0951 to access our Munson Healthcare information line.

You may also call the Michigan hotline for COVID-19 at 888-535-6136.