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COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to common questions about coronavirus


Think you might have COVID-19?

Please call 833-822-5523 to be screened if you are concerned you may be ill with COVID-19. This Ballad Health Nurse Connect line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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


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.

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.

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.

Is there a COVID-19 vaccine?

There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19.

The best way to prevent infection is to take everyday preventative actions, like avoiding close contact with people who are sick and washing your hands often.

Is there a treatment for COVID-19?

There is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 can seek medical care to help relieve symptoms.

What can I do to protect myself from COVID-19?

Washing your hands is your best defense to prevent exposure to this virus.

Learn more about protecting yourself from COVID-19.

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.

Is Ballad Health testing for COVID-19?

The state of Tennessee and commonwealth of Virginia are currently overseeing COVID-19 testing.

A Ballad Health caregiver can test a patient for other types of respiratory illness, including influenza.

If those tests are negative and the Ballad Health caregiver suspects the patient might have COVID-19, the Ballad Health Infection Prevention team will contact the Tennessee Department of Health or the Virginia Department of Health, who will initiate the COVID-19 test.

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.

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

Additionally, visitors will not be allowed in Ballad Health emergency departments / ERs and outpatient clinics, effective 6 a.m. on Wednesday, April 8.

Limited exceptions to these restrictions may apply to:

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

More details

Read more about these visitation restrictions here.


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

Is there something else you want to ask about coronavirus?

Send Your Question Here


And more COVID-19 Q&As

You can find answers to more coronavirus-related questions on our health library, such as:

  • How is coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) diagnosed?
  • How is coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) treated?
  • When should I call my healthcare provider?