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COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to common questions about coronavirus


Think you might have COVID-19?

COVID-19 drive-thru testing

If you are concerned you may be ill, schedule a COVID-19 test online at one of our drive-thru test sites. Ballad Health offers testing for patients of all ages.

Enter your location and select "COVID Testing – No Symptoms" as your reason for visit. You can also call (833) 822-5523 to schedule your test.

Appointments are required. Referrals aren't needed.

Learn more about COVID-19 testing.


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 and 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.

If you are concerned you may be ill, schedule a COVID-19 test online at one of our drive-thru test sites. Ballad Health offers testing for patients of all ages.

Enter your location and select "COVID Testing – No Symptoms" as your reason for visit. You can also call (833) 822-5523 to schedule your test.

Appointments are required. Referrals aren't needed.

Learn more about COVID-19 testing.

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?

No appointment is necessary, but you can book an appointment online for the Johnson City Vaccine Center:

Schedule Your Vaccination

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

Or call Ballad Health Nurse Connect at 833-822-5523 to schedule your vaccination. Nurse Connect is active 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Your second dose will be scheduled at the center when you get your first dose.

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.

You can view our updated visitation guidelines here.

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).

Elective and non-emergent surgeries

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

Effective Monday, Aug. 16, Ballad Health will defer all elective, non-emergent surgical cases requiring overnight patient stays.

The decision to postpone these procedures follows several weeks of sustained COVID-19 increases, with infections rising 800% since July 4.

Read more about this decision here.

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.

Send us your question