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Responding to COVID-19

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  • No routine visitors/patient attendants
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COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus 2019)

Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital is closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 (2019 Novel Coronavirus) and is coordinating with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state public health officials to take every precaution to prepare us to provide safe care to all of our patients, including those who may present with COVID-19.

The number of cases continues to grow rapidly worldwide and the situation remains fluid as public health authorities assess and attempt to prevent the spread of infection. For current information about the total number of confirmed cases in the United States, visit the CDC website.

To view a listing of Community Resources for Boston-area residents, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital preparing and responding to COVID-19?

There is a multidisciplinary team of health care providers, administrative leaders, researchers and support staff that have been preparing to care for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 since we first learned of the outbreak in late January. We have taken every precaution to ensure that we can provide all patients, including those with possible COVID-19, with the highest quality care while protecting hospital staff, other patients and visitors. A number of proactive efforts are underway across the hospital, including activities related to:

  • Updating our ED and ambulatory screening protocols to rapidly detect patients with possible COVID-19
  • Updating the screening tools in our electronic health record to flag patients with possible COVID-19
  • Regularly updating providers about the status of the outbreak and our evolving understanding of the biology of this disease
  • Implementing a robust training program on the appropriate use of personal protective equipment
  • Conducting drills on the identification, transport, rooming and safe care of patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19
  • Planning for the potential influx of a large number of COVID-19 patients

For patients considered at risk for COVID-19, clinicians deploy strict precautions (airborne, contact and eye protection). This includes patients with:

  • Fever or symptoms of lower-respiratory illness (including coughing or trouble breathing)
  • Recent travel from countries where COVID-19 outbreaks have been reported
  • Contact with a known or suspected case of COVID-19
What should I do if I am patient or visitor at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital?

If you believe you have been exposed to 2019 Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), contact your health care provider to see if you need to be evaluated.

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, BWFH strongly prohibits the following individuals from entering the hospital unless the visit is essential:

  • Individuals who have returned from travel to any of the countries currently identified as having widespread local transmission of COVID-19.
  • Individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19.
  • Individuals with upper respiratory tract symptoms including fever and/or cough or muscle pains or nasal congestion.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and in our continued efforts to keep our patients, routine visiting will be suspended until the spread of COVID-19 is no longer a threat to our patients, staff and community. Exceptions may include:

  • Patients who are at the end-of-life may have 2 visitors.
  • Patients with disruptive behavior, where a family member is key to their care, may have 1 visitor.
  • Patients who have altered mental status or developmental delays (where caregiver provides safety) may have 1 visitor.
  • Patients who require a home caregiver or aide may have 1 visitor.
  • Patients who are under the age of 18 may have 1 visitor, including a parent or guardian.
  • Patients undergoing surgery or procedures may have 1 visitor.

In all of the above circumstances, visitors must not exhibit any symptoms upon screening and must remain with the patient. Visitors entering the hospital after 8pm must buzz to gain access and then report to the security desk in the Emergency Department lobby to obtain a visitors pass. The security officer will contact the patient’s unit with the visitor’s name and the nurse responsible for the patient will support the need for the visit based on the patient’s medical condition, safety concerns or preference for visitors. Upon clearance, a visitor pass must be provided and worn.

Thank you for doing everything possible to keep our patients and staff safe during this time.

Where can I ask questions or get more info if I think I have been exposed to COVID-19?

If you are an established Partners HealthCare patient with a primary care provider, we recommend you contact your provider’s office by phone or via Partners Patient Gateway if you have symptoms that may indicate exposure to COVID-19 or if you believe you may have been exposed.

If you are an established Partners patient and do not have a primary care provider – or are unable to reach them – there are other resources available to you:

  1. Call the Partners HealthCare COVID-19 Nurse Line at 617-724-7000.
    Staffed from 8 am to 8 pm, 7 days a week, nurses are available to respond to general or specific questions about COVID-19 for those who have symptoms, believe they may have been exposed, or are looking to learn more. If treatment is needed, they will guide you through next steps. Interpreters can be added to calls for patients who need it.

  2. Launch a video visit with an urgent care provider at Partners HealthCare On Demand (PHOD). Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, PHOD is suggested for those who have symptoms of COVID-19 and/or have underlying conditions that may put them at greater risk. A doctor or advanced practitioner will conduct an intake assessment via a secure video visit and recommend next steps. Note that this service is only available to established Partners patients in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.
How can I donate supplies to BWFH to assist with COVID-19 preparedness and response?

As we focus on responding to COVID-19 and protecting our patients, staff and community, we are immensely grateful for the outpouring of support we have received.

If you are interested in donating supplies or funds to Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital, please click here to find more information and fill out a donation form. Thank you for your generosity and solidarity.

To ensure that we can safely use any donated items or equipment, our safety and infection control experts need to review information about the items before they can be sent to the hospital. We are unable to accept items that have been opened. Please note that we cannot accept donations of food at this time.

What are coronaviruses?

The cause of this outbreak has been identified as a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), or COVID-19. Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can cause symptoms ranging from the common cold to severe respiratory illness.

Other coronaviruses include severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV). Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital has substantial experience evaluating and caring for patients with possible coronaviruses infections.  

How does COVID-19 spread?

Coronaviruses are typically spread from person-to-person when in close contact. Person-to-person spread is thought to occur mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how the flu spreads.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. It’s currently unclear if a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes.

What are the symptoms of an COVID-19 infection?

For confirmed COVID-19 infections, reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms or mild cold symptoms to people being severely sick. Most people who become sick from COVID-19 — approximately 80 percent — do not require hospitalization.    

Common symptoms of a COVID-19 infection may include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Chest tightness or chest pain
  • Shortness of breath

Persons who are elderly, unable to develop a normal immune response or have other comorbidities, such as heart disease or liver disease, are at higher risk of developing severe pneumonia and dying from the disease. Symptoms of the coronavirus may appear in as few as two days or up to 14 days after exposure, according to the CDC.

How can I prevent the spread of COVID-19?

The CDC recommends these everyday actions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough, or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash. Then wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

The best way to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses is to:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes or nose with unwashed hands
  • Stay home and do not travel when you are sick
Should I wear a face mask?

The CDC is not recommending that people wear masks. Most often respiratory viruses are spread from person-to-person in close contact or within six feet of each other.

To preserve the limited supply of masks, the only Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital staff using masks are those who provide direct care to patients with communicable illnesses or patients with a fever or cough. For more information about masks, see the CDC's webpage on respirators.


If you are a patient and have additional questions, please contact your practice, health care provider or our Patient and Family Relations Office at 617-983-4507.


Offering comprehensive medical, surgical and psychiatric care as well as complete emergency, ambulatory and diagnostic services to residents of southwest Boston and the surrounding suburbs.