Due to increasing concerns regarding the spread of the coronavirus with cases in the U.S., Bristol Health is taking proactive measures to prepare for COVID-19. 
Click here to learn more or call our coronavirus hotline at 860.261.6855.

Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions

What is the source of COVID-19?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some cause illness in people, and others, such as canine and feline coronaviruses, only infect animals. Rarely, animal coronaviruses that infect animals have emerged to infect people and can spread between people. This is suspected to have occurred for the virus that causes COVID-19. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) are two other examples of coronaviruses that originated from animals and then spread to people. More information about the source and spread of COVID-19 is available on the Situation Summary: Source and Spread of the Virus.

*Centers for Disease Control information

How does the virus spread?

This virus was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. The first infections were linked to a live animal market, but the virus is now spreading from person-to-person. It’s important to note that person-to-person spread can happen on a continuum. Some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while other viruses are less so.

The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some affected geographic areas. Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.
Learn what is known about the spread of newly emerged coronaviruses.

*Centers for Disease Control information

Should I be tested for COVID-19?

Call your provider's office if you feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19.

Your provider will work with your state’s public health department and CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.

There is a Coronavirus Specimen Collection site setup on the campus of Bristol Hospital. Click here to learn more about the collection site.

How do I find out more specifics about the Specimen Collection Stations at Bristol Hospital?

Visit our Specimen Collection page to learn more and see questions specifically on the stations.

I feel ill. What do I do?

If you feel ill and believe you may have some of the symptoms of coronavirus, contact your primary care provider to discuss your situation. If you do not have a primary care physician, Bristol Health Med-Help Urgent Care is open at 539 Farmington Avenue, Bristol.

Your provider will advise you of the next steps. If testing is needed, your physician will need to write up a lab order.

What should I do if I recently traveled to Italy or another area affected by COVID-19?

If you spent time in Italy or another affected area in the past 14 days and feel sick with fever or cough or have difficulty breathing:
  • Take your temperature
  • Seek medical advice. Call ahead before you go to a doctor's office or emergency room. Tell them about your recent travel and symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Do not travel while sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%-95% alcohol immediately after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.
Travelers who spent time in Italy during the past 14 days and who feel well (i.e. no symptoms) do not need to self-monitor at home for 14 days.

What countries are currently being labeled "high risk?"

The CDC has the most up-to-date and comprehensive information on the coronavirus, including countries with Travel Health notices. Please visit cdc.gov for the most current information.

I’m not sure if my symptoms are an indication that I may be infected with COVID-19?

If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice and screening.
Visit the symptoms section or the Centers for Disease Control web site for more information on symptoms.

I have a non-coronavirus related doctor’s appointment already scheduled, can I keep it?

Yes. With the exception of the Bernie Guida Cardiac & Pulmonary Rehab Center, our physician’s offices are still open. However, we highly recommend calling your provider’s office to confirm your appointment.

Can I bring anyone with me to my appointment?

No visitors will be allowed at Bristol Hospital. Click here to learn more about the hospital’s visitor restrictions and exceptions. All individuals coming to Bristol Hospital will be screened in the main lobby.
Please do not have anyone accompany you to your doctor’s appointment at any of our primary care or specialty care offices unless absolutely necessary. We advise you to please call ahead with any concerns/questions.

Can I still visit the Emergency Center?

Yes. The Emergency Center is open to provide care to you and your loved ones in an emergency situation. If you are experiencing issues you believe to be related to COVID-19, please contact your primary care provider.

What if I was in close contact with someone who has been exposed to someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19?

The Centers for Disease Control recommends self-isolation to help prevent the spread of the virus. Please contact your primary care provider or, if you do not have one, our Med-Help Urgent Care facility at 539 Farmington Avenue, Bristol for a screening.

What is Bristol Health’s plan to minimize the spread of COVID-19?

Bristol Health is actively preparing for the coronavirus crisis as it affects our local communities. This includes:
  • Working with local and state Public Health Departments and other key organizations
  • Putting visitor restrictions into effect
  • Canceling or postponing large events
  • Providing testing at our Specimen Collection Stations (pending availability of testing supplies)
  • Monitoring our supplies
  • ​Providing education regarding COVID-19 to the community

My spouse, family member or household member is under self-quarantine. Should I be tested?

If you have come in contact with anyone you believe may have exposed you to coronavirus, it is best to self-monitor and contact your primary care provider to discuss any symptoms you may be experiencing. Your provider will determine if you require testing. You must have a written lab order from your provider in order to make use of our Specimen Collection Stations.

Should I be wearing a facemask while out in public?

No. At this time the CDC is not recommending the use of facemasks while in public settings.

Is Bristol Health currently testing for COVID-19?

Yes. Specimen Collection Stations are located on the Bristol Hospital campus. You must have a lab order from your provider. Click here to learn more about the collection stations.

How is Bristol Health protecting its clinical staff?

All frontline staff are wearing standard surgical/procedural equipment at all times while in patient care areas. This equipment includes masks, gowns, gloves and protective goggles.
Bristol Health is routinely cleaning all equipment and sanitizing all areas. We also require all employees to always practice proper hand hygiene to minimize the spread of any germs.

Is it safe to go to the hospital?

Yes. Bristol Hospital has implemented a no visitor policy (with certain exceptions). Anyone entering the hospital will be screened in the main lobby before being allowed to proceed.

I am a nurse and I’m looking to help out, what do I need to do?

Please use our contact us form to express your interest or contact Nancy LaMonica at nlamonic@bristolhospital.org or call 860.585.3311 to inquire on how you can help.

What happens when I get to the Specimen Collection facility?

You will be in your car and staff or security guard will direct you to drive up to the screener. You will show your paperwork to the screener. If you have all the required paperwork, the screener will direct you to a collection station. Once at the collection station, a clinical provider wearing personal protective equipment will swab you to get a specimen. Once complete, you drive away.

When will I get my results?

Since the specimen will be sent to an offsite facility for testing, getting your test results will depend on how long the laboratory turn-around time is.

How do I get my results?

When ready, your results will be sent to your provider. Please contact your provider directly to obtain your results.

Is there a cost for the test?

Your costs will depend on your insurance coverage.  Please contact your insurer for information.

What if I don’t have insurance coverage? Can I still be tested?

Yes, you can get tested even if you don't have insurance as long as you have a lab order from your primary care provider. You would be responsible for the cost. Please check CT.gov or call 211 for any additional information related to individuals without health insurance coverage.

What if I am unable to be tested. What should I do?

The recommendation is to self-isolate.

Self-isolation is a voluntary measure in which you remain home and away from work, school or other social and outdoor settings. While self-isolated, you closely monitor your health, including your temperature twice a day, for 14 days. Individuals returning from areas affected by the coronavirus are being asked to self-isolate.

Where can I get tested if your facility is closed?

A number of additional testing facilities are being opened throughout the state, including Bridgeport, Danbury, Greenwich, Waterbury and New Haven. Please visit CT.gov or call 211 to get the most current information, and to confirm the location, hours of operation and requirements at the testing facilities.

Where can I get more information?

For Bristol Health specific information, visit our website bristolhealth.org or  call our coronavirus update line: 860.261.6855.  For general coronavirus resources, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website: cdc.gov