Coronavirus and COVID-19: How to protect yourself and get care

Your health and safety are always our top priority. To help you protect yourself and your loved ones, we’ve gathered the most important information and guidance on the coronavirus and COVID-19. Check back for the latest information as we continue to update this page.

 

To get information that’s specific to your area, select your state or region below.  

 

Stay informed

To get email updates on COVID-19, sign in or create a kp.org account and add your email address under Profile & Preferences.

 

What you need to know

Getting care in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

Call if you think you have symptoms

It’s important to call us first if you think you have COVID-19 symptoms or believe you’ve been exposed. Calling ahead helps us direct you to the most appropriate care, and helps us take precautions to protect other members, patients, and employees.

If you have a respiratory illness or flu symptoms or were exposed to someone at risk for coronavirus infection, schedule a video or telephone visit. Visit kp.org/getcare or call 1-800-777-7904 to talk to an advice nurse 24/7.

 

 

Care by phone, online, or in person

You have many ways to get care without leaving the comfort of your home — including video visits and phone appointments. Members 18 and older can also use e-visits to be screened for the coronavirus and get online care and advice. This allows you to still get great care while helping to address the community spread of COVID-19. If you need to come in, we’re here for you — and we’re taking every precaution to keep our facilities safe.

If you’re a new member and haven’t selected a doctor yet, start by choosing your doctor at kp.org/newmember.

New medical center visitor policy

If you need to visit one of our medical centers, we ask that you adhere to our new visitor policy which is below.

Kaiser Permanente Medical Center Visitor Policy
To protect yourself, your family, other patients, and our staff, we kindly ask that you follow these guidelines for visiting a Kaiser Permanente medical center:

1) Bring only one visitor/guest with you if you need assistance.
2) Do not bring people with you for your appointment unless it's necessary (example: no childcare, need assistance, etc.).
3) Do not allow people who have a fever, cough, cold, or flu symptoms to accompany you.
4) Keep a safe distance from other people (at least 6 feet away) in the waiting room and other open areas whenever possible.
5) Follow respiratory hygiene while in the building:
- Wash your hands.
- Cover your cough.
- Sneeze into a tissue or your elbow and then discard tissue and wash your hands.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
 

Elective surgeries and procedures

The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that all nonurgent procedures be postponed in parts of the country where there is community transmission of the COVID-19 virus. As a result, Kaiser Permanente will be postponing elective or nonurgent surgeries and procedures in all locations.

We will proactively reach out to inform members of the change. If you have an upcoming surgery or procedure, you can also phone or email your doctor’s office with any questions about your ongoing care needs. Once the outbreak has passed, we can work together to reschedule your procedure.
 

Prescriptions

You have options for getting the prescriptions you need. It's a good idea to refill your prescriptions online and have them delivered by mail, especially during the COVID-19 outbreak. You can avoid standing in line at the pharmacy and with most prescriptions you can get a 3-month supply for the price of 2 months.

Sign in to kp.org/rxrefill and select the mail order option to receive your medications in a few business days. For urgent prescriptions, you should visit your closest Kaiser Permanente pharmacy.

 

Tests

We’re prepared to test patients for COVID-19 if testing is necessary, following the guidelines established by the CDC and public health agencies. If you are concerned that you or a family member are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, please contact us first before coming in, as you need a referral and appointment to get tested.

We’re eliminating any financial barriers to ensure our members receive the medically necessary services to detect and treat COVID-19. Effective immediately, Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States will waive cost sharing for testing, diagnosis, and treatment of COVID-19. That means we will not bill you a copay, coinsurance, or deductible for services to test, diagnose, and treat COVID-19.

Maryland residents without insurance
For those in our Maryland communities who are uninsured, Kaiser Permanente has worked with the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange to allow a special enrollment period for individuals to sign up for health insurance coverage. The special enrollment period starts March 16 and will run through April 15, with coverage effective April 1. Visit Maryland Health Connection to enroll.  

Protecting yourself and your family

Tips

It’s still cold and flu season, and the same practices that stop the spread of these common illnesses are recommended.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. 
  • Wash your hands with soap and water regularly for at least 20 seconds. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are also effective.
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. 
  • Stay home when you’re sick (except to get medical care). Keep sick children home from school or day care. 
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow. Wash your hands afterward. 
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids, eat healthy foods, and manage your stress.
  • See additional guidance from the CDC and White House.

 

 

 

Masks
The CDC doesn’t currently recommend the use of masks for most people. Only people who are sick with COVID-19 and in some cases those who are caring for them should wear face masks. Kaiser Permanente facilities will provide masks to patients showing symptoms.
People at high risk

For most people, the COVID-19 symptoms are mild and go away on their own. But if you are over 65, have a weakened immune system, or have an underlying health condition, you have a higher risk of developing serious symptoms. It’s important you take additional precautions, including:

  • Avoid large groups — including concerts, conventions, sporting events, and social gatherings.
  • Avoid visiting health care facilities except to get medical care — for example, nursing homes, clinics, and hospitals.

If you have a cough and fever, please call us and we’ll make sure you get the care you need.

Emotional wellness support

The outbreak of the coronavirus and COVID-19 may be stressful for you and your family. Here are some resources to support your family’s mental health, including how to talk to children in a reassuring way.

Wellness Resources — A broad range of self-care resources, including apps, audio activities, articles, and more.
Manage Anxiety & Stress — CDC resource on managing mental health and coping during COVID-19 for children and caregivers.
Talking to Kids About the Coronavirus — The Child Mind Institute offers suggestions and resources for talking to young people about COVID-19.
 


Kaiser Permanente preparedness and response

Building on what we know

Across all of Kaiser Permanente, our caregivers have treated many COVID-19 patients. We’re actively applying what we’ve learned over the past several weeks and coupling that with our extensive experience in caring for people with infectious diseases to address the COVID-19 outbreak. Based on what we’ve experienced, we know much more now than we did in mid-January, when most of us first learned of this new version of the coronavirus.

We’re also working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and federal, state, and local agencies about the latest recommendations and guidance. Rest assured that your health is our top priority.

 


General COVID-19 information

What is the coronavirus?

The new coronavirus is a type of virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) — an infection of the airways and lungs. It’s part of the same family of coronaviruses that causes the common cold. Symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure.

What are the symptoms?

Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe symptoms of fever, cough, or shortness of breath — similar to the flu. Symptoms appear to be more severe in the elderly and people with chronic conditions. The latest data shows that about 80% of people with COVID-19 will show no or very mild signs of illness. Most people who get it will not need to visit their doctor and will recover on their own.

 

 

 

How does it spread?
We now know the virus is spread from person to person — mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) — through tiny droplets made when an infected person coughs or sneezes.