Vibrant Health, part of M Health Fairview, is here to help you navigate the unprecedented global health challenge posed by COVID-19. Our experts are translating breakthrough research into new solutions that we can apply in the fight against COVID-19, while our frontline doctors, nurses, and staff work tirelessly to care for local families affected by this disease.

This online hub provides helpful information, resources, and access to care if you think you may have COVID-19. Together, we can slow the spread of the coronavirus and protect our communities.

What is COVID-19 (coronavirus)?

COVID-19 is a viral respiratory illness caused by a newly identified coronavirus that was discovered in late 2019 in China. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some coronaviruses cause illnesses in people and others only circulate among animals. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people. The virus causing COVID-19 may have emerged from an animal source, and it is now able to spread from person to person.

How does it spread? 

The virus is thought to spread between people who are in close contact (within about six feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. It may also spread when one person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touches their mouth, nose, or eyes. However, this is not thought to be the main way the virus is transmitted.

Symptoms

This coronavirus causes mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Some people may experience other symptoms, including muscle aches, headaches, a sore throat, or diarrhea. Evidence suggests that the incubation period for COVID-19 is between two and 14 days.

Diagnosis and Testing

At this time, coronavirus testing is limited to those with symptoms or those who are at high-risk and have had direct exposure to a person who tested positive to COVID-19. If you think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, do not come to our clinics. To protect our patients and providers, we are not taking walk-in patients at this time for COVID-19 or other illnesses. Please contact your healthcare provider by phone so we can discuss a plan for your care.

Treatments

There is no antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 may receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. Patients may also be asked to self-quarantine at home in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Prevention

No vaccine is currently available for the coronavirus causing COVID-19. The best way to prevent the illness is to avoid exposure through simple precautions. Prevention steps include:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not readily available.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home if you’re feeling sick.

Enhanced visitor restrictions

To protect our patients from the flu and other common illnesses, we enforce visitor restrictions year round. Due to the presence of COVID-19 in Wisconsin and Minnesota, we are taking additional precautions to ensure the health of our patients. Effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020, we are implementing the following restrictions at our locations:

We are no longer accepting walk-in patients. If you need an appointment, you must call to schedule it.

No visitors are allowed on our clinic campuses. Only if necessary, one person may accompany a patient to a clinic visit. Someone who is sick or has known exposure to COVID-19 will not be allowed to accompany a patient.

All visitors to our clinics will be screened for symptoms and COVID-19 risk at each visit. Watch for signs at the location you are visiting for more information. Visitors may be asked to wear a mask or leave the location for the safety of our patients and staff.

Appointments

I don’t have COVID-19 symptoms but need to schedule an appointment for another illness. What should I do?

Due to COVID-19, the Ellsworth and Spring Valley clinics have transitioned to virtual care and are not scheduling in-person visits. Your provider may still be available for an in-person visit at the River Falls location. Patients seeking care should call the appointment line for direction.

I don’t have COVID-19 symptoms but have an appointment. What should I do?

Due to COVID-19, the Ellsworth and Spring Valley clinics have transitioned to virtual care and are not scheduling in-person visits. Your provider may still be available for an in-person visit at the River Falls location. Patients seeking care should call the appointment line for direction.

We are recommending that everyone who comes to the clinic wear a mask. For patients without symptoms, a cloth mask is appropriate. For all staff and symptomatic patients, surgical grade masks will be worn at all times. We are also doing frequent cleaning to high touch areas and spreading out appointments to minimize the number of patients in the building. If you are worried about coming to the clinic, please contact your health care provider to discuss your concerns.

I don’t have any symptoms, but can I receive coronavirus testing for my own peace of mind?

Nasopharyngeal testing for acute COVID-19 illness is only available for Vibrant Health patients who are currently having symptoms or who have underlying high risk conditions and have had recent direct exposure to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. It is not recommended for asymptomatic patients. If you suspect that you may have previously had COVID-19 but do not currently have symptoms, you may be eligible for an antibody test, which can be scheduled at Vibrant Health lab. Please note it can take several weeks after exposure and illness for antibodies to form. Please contact the clinic to discuss whether antibody testing might be an option for you.

Is Urgent Care open?

Vibrant Health is suspending weekend urgent care until further notice, effective April 11. If you need to speak to a nurse, please contact the after-hours nurse triage line by calling your clinic phone number. If your concerns require the input of a physician, they will page our on-call physician. If they aren’t able to assist, they will direct you to the closest medical care.

What to do if you think you have COVID-19

Call your primary care provider. They can evaluate your symptoms through a virtual visit and schedule a curbside test. Most people with COVID-19 experience a mild illness and will recover at home.

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please:

  • Follow the care instructions you receive from our team.
  • Plan to self-quarantine for a minimum of seven days after your illness began, or 72 hours after your fever subsides and your symptoms have improved without the use of fever-reducing medications, whichever is longer.
  • If your symptoms worsen or you experience shortness of breath, call or message your healthcare provider.

Outside of an emergency, please do not visit a clinic or hospital without calling ahead. This avoids spreading COVID-19 to others.

What should you do if you need care for a serious medical emergency?

If you suspect you’re in need of help—for a stroke, heart attack or any other serious event—please call 911 or get to an emergency room right away. Concerns around COVID-19 should not stop you from getting the care you need. Emergency Department Teams are ready to treat you and keep you—and themselves—safe. The odds of better outcomes during a serious medical emergency increase greatly if therapies are introduced within the first hour of symptoms.

What is antibody testing?

This is a kind of blood test. We take a small sample of your blood, and then test it for something called “antibodies.” Your body makes antibodies to fight infection. If your blood has antibodies for a certain germ, it means you’ve been infected with that germ in the past. Sometimes, antibodies stay in your body for years after you’ve had the infection. They can be there even if the germ didn’t make you sick. They are a sign that your body fought off the infection.

Will this test find antibodies in everyone who’s had COVID-19?

No. The test finds antibodies in most people 10 days after they get sick. For some people, it takes longer than 10 days for antibodies to show up. Others may never show antibodies against COVID-19, especially if they have weak immune systems.

What does it mean if my test finds COVID-19 antibodies?

If we find these antibodies, it means:

  • You have had the virus.
  • Your body’s immune system fought the virus.
  • We don’t know if this will help protect you from getting COVID-19 again. Scientists are still learning about this.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.