ATTENTION: To prevent the spread of illness among our patients, staff, and community, we recommend against visiting hospital patients at this time. Learn more
We know you have questions about COVID-19 symptoms and testing. We are making it easier for you to get the answers you need.
Call the hotline directly at 208-883-4109.
We can help you get answers to basic questions regarding COVID-19 symptoms, home treatment, and testing guidelines. Learn more
You can also text COVID19 to 208-295-5080 to get a link to our online symptom checker. It will automatically connect your results to one of the nurses working at the Gritman COVID-19 Hotline.
As part of this process, we have and will continue to make adjustments to our procedures and policies to protect the health and safety of our patients, staff, doctors, nurses and the community.
A: Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause respiratory illness ranging from mild to severe. There are now seven known coronaviruses that can affect humans, and four of them are relatively common, causing cold-like symptoms. The strain of coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is believed to have originated sometime in late 2019.
A: The symptoms of COVID-19 can appear 2-14 days after exposure and include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Symptoms may not appear for up to two weeks, but you can be infectious even with very mild symptoms that may be mistaken for other things.
A: COVID-19 is spread person-to-person by close contact with an infected person. The more symptoms a person shows the more likely they are to spread the virus. In some circumstances, the virus can live on a surface and be spread by touching the surface and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
A: Isolate yourself at home to prevent further spread of the disease and call Public Health-North Idaho Central District at 866-736-6632. If you must leave home, use a facemask to prevent spread. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
A: If you are feeling too ill to remain at home, call your health care provider, Public Health-North Idaho Central District at 866-736-6632 or the Gritman COVID-19 Hotline at 208-883-4109. To avoid exposing others to the virus, it is important to call ahead of your arrival at Gritman so you can be isolated.
If you are having a medical emergency, call 911 and describe your symptoms and coronavirus concerns to the 911 dispatcher.
A: Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. Masks are available at the registration desks at each of our clinics and Gritman Medical Center for patients experiencing flu-like symptoms, such as coughing, sneezing or fever.
A: Yes, but it depends on several factors:
Not everyone needs to be tested. Your doctor will assess your symptoms and other risk factors on a case-by-case basis and work in coordination with public health officials to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.
If your doctor determines that testing for COVID-19 is recommended, a sample can be collected and transferred for laboratory testing.
Public Health – Idaho North Central District
Gritman Emergency Department 208-882-4511
A: Yes, Gritman will implement our influx of “Infectious Patients Disaster Plan” if and when necessary. This plan will include setting up an alternative testing site location and ensuring supplies are being used resourcefully.
A: We will implement our influx of “Infectious Patients Disaster Plan” if and when necessary, including a tent set up for triage of suspected COVID-19 patients.
A: We are encouraging people to help prevent the spread of illness by not visiting patients in our hospital at this time. We are restricting visitors to those patients under isolation precautions unless otherwise approved by the treating provider.
A: Rigorous safety precautions are used when treating a patient with an infectious disease. It is unlikely that you would have been exposed to the virus simply because you were admitted to the same hospital.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Brown
Dr. John Brown, Gritman Medical Center’s chief medical officer, discusses how Gritman is monitoring and responding to COVID-19.
Q: How is Gritman responding to COVID-19?
A: We are aware of developments with the virus and prepared to handle any suspected cases. Our staff is trained and drilled routinely on procedures to keep the public, our patients and our staff safe.
As your local hospital, we are in close coordination with regional and state public health authorities to monitor the virus and respond quickly and as needed.
Q: How can I protect myself?
A: The best way to protect yourself is to wash your hands often with soap or hand sanitizer. You should also avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes.
Q: Should I use a facemask?
A: A facemask will not protect you from the coronavirus, however, if you are sick wearing one can help you prevent spreading the disease to others. Facemasks are critical for health care workers who are caring for sick patients, but many people are rushing to buy facemasks and depleting supplies.
Q: If I have symptoms and think I may have been exposed to the virus, what should I do?
A: As with any illness, if you are experiencing symptoms it is important to take steps to prevent spreading the virus. If you are experiencing only mild symptoms, you should isolate yourself at home during your illness, and you should restrict your activities outside of your home, except for getting medical care. It is important to avoid public places like work, school, and grocery stores.
If you are feeling too ill to remain at home, you should seek medical attention. In order for Gritman to provide the appropriate precautions and ensure public, patient and staff safety, we ask that you call our Emergency Department before presenting yourself.
We also recommend wearing a mask if you have symptoms. Remember, masks do not protect you from being infected, but they help to prevent the spread of the virus from an infected person. Masks are available at the registration desks at each of our clinics and Gritman Medical Center for patients experiencing flu-like symptoms, such as coughing, sneezing or fever.
As always, if you are having a medical emergency, call 911.
Q: Where can I get the latest and most reliable information about the virus?
Washing Your Hands
Hand-washing is more than just running water over your hands. Washing your hands with soap and water is the best way to prevent the spread of infections. It helps prevent diseases, such as colds, flu, and food poisoning. It’s easy, it doesn’t cost much, and it works.
When should you wash your hands?
What’s the best way to wash your hands?
Isolation rooms are special hospital rooms that keep patients with certain medical conditions separate from other people while they receive medical care.
Learn more about reducing germs and infections in the home.
How does a hospital isolation room work?
Negative air pressure
Sometimes isolation rooms use negative air pressure. This helps prevent airborne diseases (such as tuberculosis or flu) from escaping the room and infecting other people. A machine pulls air into the room. Then it filters the air before moving it outside. In a negative air pressure room, you may be able to feel air being sucked into the room under a closed door or through a slightly opened window.
Positive air pressure
In other cases, such as when a person has a weakened immune system, positive air pressure may be used. Clean, filtered air is constantly pumped into the room. This is done to keep contagious diseases out of the room. With this type of isolation room, you may be able to feel air blowing out of the room under a closed door.
Hospital isolation rooms video
What is stress?
Stress is what you feel when you have to handle more than you are used to. Stress is a fact of life for most people, and it affects everyone differently. What causes stress for you may not be stressful for someone else.
What causes stress?
A lot of things can cause stress. You may feel stress when you go on a job interview, take a test, or run a race. These kinds of short-term stress are normal. Long-term (chronic) stress is caused by stressful situations or events that last over a long period of time, like problems at work or conflicts in your family. Over time, chronic stress can lead to severe health problems.
What happens with stress?
When you are stressed, your body responds as though you are in danger. If stress happens too often or lasts too long, it can have bad effects on your health, emotions, and relationships.