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COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to common questions about coronavirus

Think you might have COVID-19?

You can schedule COVID-19 testing online.

Just select “COVID-related visit” and follow the steps to find a testing location near you.

Or call 833-822-5523 to be screened. This Ballad Health Nurse Connect line is active 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

You can also use this Coronavirus Screening Tool to help determine if you or a loved one need to seek medical care.

COVID-19 general questions

What is coronavirus?

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.

How does COVID-19 spread?

The virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

It also may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Where can I find mental health help?

Coping strategies

The coronavirus can significantly affect anyone’s mental health – but especially those dealing with mental illness. The National Alliance on Mental Illness and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide practical coping strategies to help you manage stress and anxiety.

Professional help

If you or someone you love is struggling and needs more assistance, Ballad Health provides both outpatient and inpatient behavioral health services.

Need help now?

Call the Respond Crisis Hotline at 800-366-1132 if you or someone else needs help right away.

COVID-19 Symptoms & Testing

What are the symptoms of COVID-19, also known as the novel coronavirus?

Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • fever
  • cough
  • shortness of breath

Most people who contract COVID-19 will have mild symptoms and will make a full recovery.

The majority of infants, children and adolescents with COVID-19, who traditionally are more susceptible to severe respiratory infections, have had more mild cases of the infection and recovered within one to two weeks.

Is Ballad Health testing for COVID-19?

Ballad Health conducts COVID-19 testing in all of its hospitals, as well as many urgent care and outpatient locations.

To schedule a COVID-19 test, you can schedule a test online or call Ballad Health Nurse Connect at 833-822-5523.

All COVID-19 testing data is also reported through the departments of health in Tennessee and Virginia.

What should I do if I’m experiencing some of the COVID-19 symptoms?

If you or a family member think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough and difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider immediately.

If you are experiencing mild symptoms, please stay at home and call 833-822-5523 to speak to a nurse and start the screening process. This phone line will be active 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You may also contact your primary care physician.

If you are having a life-threatening emergency, please call 911 or visit your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I have long-term COVID symptoms?

Ballad Health has launched the Center for Post-COVID Care to provide a full spectrum of services to patients struggling with post-COVID symptoms.

Learn more about our Center for Post-COVID Care.

COVID-19 Vaccine Scheduling

Can I schedule a COVID-19 vaccination online?

If you are 12 or older, you can now schedule an appointment online for your first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination at our Ballad Health Vaccine Center. Your second dose will be scheduled at the center when you get your first dose.

Schedule your appointment at our local vaccine center today:

The Johnson City Vaccine Center is located in The Mall of Johnson City at the former Goody's entrance near Forever 21.

COVID-19 Visitation Restrictions

Does Ballad Health have any visitation restrictions?

Yes, to help contain COVID-19, as well as protect patients and team members, Ballad has implemented new visitation guidelines.

Effective Saturday, March 21, 2020, Ballad Health is not allowing visitors in its inpatient hospital units, long-term care facilities or behavioral health centers.

Effective Friday, Jan. 29, 2021, Ballad Health is allowing 2 designated patient-support persons – or visitors – for the duration of each patient’s visit or hospital stay. The patient-support persons – or visitors – will only be allowed onsite from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. One visitor may remain with the patient overnight, and this visitor must be in the facility prior to 8 p.m. Visitors who remain with the patient after 8 p.m. will stay in the patient room. If the visitor remaining with the patient after 8 p.m. leaves the facility at any point during the night, the visitor will not be permitted for re-entry until 8 a.m.

Limited exceptions to these restrictions may apply to:

  • Birthing centers
  • Pediatric departments
  • End-of-life and other extraordinary long-term care situations

Screenings and face mask requirements

Each visitor will be screened for potential signs of illness and required to wear a cloth face covering, which they need to provide for themselves.

Due to the increased risk of virus transmission, masks with vents and/or valves are not permitted.

These measures are to help contain coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

More details

Read more about these visitation restrictions here.

Elective & Non-emergent Surgeries

Are elective or non-emergent surgeries being done at this time?

Effective Monday, Feb. 1, Ballad Health will resume elective and non-emergent surgeries at our facilities.

This decision was made based on the recommendation of our surgery sub-committee – consisting of physicians and leaders from throughout our system. It was made so that regular operations can continue to the fullest possible extent, while still safeguarding our communities against the continued treat of COVID-19.

How do you determine which proceedures are non-emergent?

To determine which procedures are classified as non-emergent, we will follow the Elective Surgery Acuity Scale (ESAS), which was developed by St. Louis University and is recommended by the American College of Surgeons as hospitals and health systems respond to challenges posed by COVID-19.

When will elective procedures resume?

During this time, we will carefully phase in new surgery procedures – increasing our scheduled elective procedures over the coming weeks.

Have questions about COVID-19 that aren't answered here?

If you have any questions that we didn't answer, please click the link below and reach out to us.

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