Coronavirus Response FAQs
In response to the coronavirus, University of Maryland Medical System has made adjustments to many of our policies in order to safeguard the health of patients, visitors, staff and our communities.
We understand that there may be many questions surrounding these changes. Please see these frequently asked questions for information or clarification.
Patient Appointment FAQs
Do I need to wear a mask when inside an UMMS facility?
Yes. Our universal masking policy requires every person within a UMMS facility – staff, patients, visitors and vendors – to wear a face mask at all times, regardless of where you are in the building.
If you already have a mask, please bring yours.
Can I bring my children to appointments?
No. Children under the age of 18 (unless they are the parent of a child) are not permitted to visit the hospital, emergency department or outpatient centers while this Temporary Visitor Policy is in effect.
What should I do if I have cold or flu symptoms and have an appointment at an UMMS hospital?
If you are exhibiting any signs of cold or flu-like symptoms, like a cough or runny nose, you should reschedule your appointment for the health and safety of those around you. If you feel like your symptoms require an appointment, please call in advance to discuss with your doctor's office.
Visitor Policy FAQs
At what point during a patient’s hospitalization are visitors permitted?
Visitation can occur only after the patient’s initial admission COVID testing has confirmed their COVID-19 status. This applies to all patients, including those who do not have symptoms of COVID-19.
What steps are being taken to assure that visitors will not be at increased risk of contracting or spreading the virus?
We screen all visitors for symptoms when they enter the hospital. This may include a temperature check at some facilities. Visitors who arrive without a mask will be given one. All are required to adhere to our universal masking policy. Additionally, we are limiting the number of people who may come into the hospital as a visitor.
How many visitors can each patient have?
Inpatients and outpatients who are not suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 can be accompanied by one visitor at a time, with the option for the person who is visiting to vary day-by-day.
Patients with disabilities may have two visitors during normal visitation hours, regardless of their COVID-19 status.
We are making an additional exception for patients who are at end of life; two visitors may be at the bedside in these cases, with a time limit of one hour for suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Can a visitor hug or be in physical contact with the patient?
Physical contact between a patient and visitor is a personal decision. We recommend that patients and visitors limit physical contact. However, good hand hygiene practices as visitors are entering and departing as well as the use of masks and other personal protection equipment, as appropriate, will minimize the risk of a hug or other brief direct physical contact.
Do visitors need to keep their masks on while in the patient’s room?
For the protection of the patient, visitor and staff, we ask that both visitors and patients wear a mask throughout the visit. This is especially important in case someone is an asymptomatic carrier of the COVID-19 virus.
What special procedures are there for visitors to a COVID patient?
Any person coming into the hospital to visit with a patient suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 must review and verbally consent to an Acknowledgement of Risk Form.
How are patients who wish to receive religious services accommodated?
Patients who are not suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 may request religious services from clergy of their choice, assuming it can be facilitated without disruption to any other patients.
Exceptions will be granted for patients suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 for religious services at the end of life. Clergy coming into the hospital for end-of-life services for patients suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 must review and consent to an Acknowledgement of Risk Form prior to entering the patient’s room.
How can I communicate about or with my loved one who is in the hospital?
Our care teams are committed to ensuring that you are updated regularly on the status of your loved one.
We understand staying in touch is important. We encourage you to stay in touch directly via phone, laptops and tablets, when possible. We offer the opportunity for online visits with our Virtual Patient Connect service.
How long will these changes in the visiting policy be in effect?
Because this is a rapidly changing situation, we cannot predict how long this policy will remain in place. We will maintain them as long as necessary to protect our patients, visitors and staff.
I'm scheduled to attend a class at an UMMS hospital. Will it be canceled?
To prevent the spread of COVID-19 we have decided to cancel all in-person UMMS events and programs, including classes, until further notice.
I visit an UMMS hospital for events outside of my health care, e.g. dining and chapel. Can I still continue these activities?
For your health and safety as well as the safety for our patients and staff, we are not allowing non-health care related activities to be conducted in the facility at this time.
I've recently visited an UMMS hospital. How do I know if I've been exposed to COVID-19?
We are taking the needed and recommended steps from our local, state and national partners like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to keep our patients, visitors and staff safe.
The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your face and follow all the recommended virus prevention measures.
How can I help?
Please see our information on different ways you can help.
Is UMMS in need of volunteers?
The role of volunteers is an important part of the service and care we provide to our patients. This need is greater than ever as we face the COVID-19 pandemic together. If you are not already a volunteer, please contact your local hospital to inquire about new opportunities for volunteers at this time.
Am I able to volunteer?
Volunteers will be asked to participate in a screening process before entering the hospital. If you meet any of the following criteria, you will be temporarily prohibited from volunteering at any University of Maryland Medical System hospital during the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and until further notice.
The following individuals may not serve as volunteers:
- Individuals with signs and symptoms of acute upper respiratory infection, those infected with COVID-19, or those for whom COVID-19 test results are pending
- Individuals who have come in contact with an individual infected with COVID-19
- Individuals 70 years or older or with immunosuppressive or other underlying conditions
- Pregnant women
- Children under the age of 18