Frequently Asked Questions

What is Coronavirus and how does it spread?

The term Coronavirus refers to a family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals. The COVID - 19 strain was first identified in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Public health officials have identified the source of this virus in bats and are investigating its spread from animal to human and human to human. It is typically spread by respiratory droplets from coughs or sneezes, similar to the way flu and other respiratory viruses spread.

What is Montefiore doing to prepare for an outbreak of COVID-19?

Montefiore Health System, including faculty at Albert Einstein College of Medicine , has a team of experts trained to handle emerging infectious diseases, critical care, emergency medicine, and all public health crises. We are in lock-step with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the World Health Organization (WHO), and city and state health agencies. Together we are tracking the most current data and research about COVID - 19. We have already established screening measures and rigorous safety protocols. Anyone entering our hospitals, doctor’s offices, outpatient facilities and/or Emergency Departments with certain symptoms will be asked about recent travel and close contact with others who are ill and have recently traveled to affected areas around the world.

All healthcare providers will be using special equipment including respirators and other protective gear when providing care to patients with potential or confirmed COVID-19, as recommended by the CDC. Any suspected COVID-19 cases will be immediately isolated in designated areas using infection control practices outlined by the CDC.

Please click here for Montefiore’s Visitor Policy Change.

What is the incubation period for COVID-19?

Infectious disease experts have determined that symptoms can begin within 14 days of initial exposure to the virus.

What are the primary symptoms?

Primary symptoms are:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath

If you have recently traveled to China or other parts of the world where outbreak is prevalent, have been in close contact with someone who traveled to those countries and have any of the above symptoms contact your healthcare provider right away. *For more information on symptoms, please click here [suggested adding this in]

What’s the best way to seek care?

Remember: This is a highly contagious virus, so it is not recommended that you enter a health care facility, potentially exposing many other individuals. If you feel you have been exposed - call your doctor or 911 and let them know about your symptoms and recent travel history.

How is COVID-19 diagnosed?

A special laboratory test performed by the CDC can confirm diagnosis. A diagnosis may be inconclusive with only a physical exam, because mild cases of the new coronavirus may appear similar to the flu or bad cold.

How is COVID-19 treated?

Currently there is no targeted treatment or vaccine. Standard supportive measures for any respiratory illness will be used.

What can I do to prevent COVID-19?

First of all, don’t panic! Take the following easy to follow precautions:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing/sneezing
  • Refrain from touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Stay home from work or school if you feel unwell
  • Vaccines have the potential to prevent or treat a wide range of infectious diseases, make sure that everyone in your house (including yourself) has received the flu shot to stay healthy and safe
  • The benefit of wearing facemasks is not proven and they are not recommended as a preventive measure.

For questions, call the Montefiore COVID-19 Hotline [insert number here if available] or, 1-800-MD-MONTE (800-636-6683).

For additional information and updates on COVID 19, visit these sites or call the resources below: [the websites listed below are taken directly from the Montefiore FAQ page]

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • World Health Organization
  • National Institutes of Health
  • New York City, call 311 or the New York State Coronavirus Hotline: 1-888-364-3065
  • Outside of New York City, call (212) 639-9675 that's (212) NEW-YORK
  • Health Providers—call DOH Coronavirus Hotline: 866-692-364.