Our hospital and all clinics are open and ready to care for patients. However, we are restricting visitor access to the hospital.  Learn more 

COVID-19 Health and Education Resources

COVID-19 graphic

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is caused by a virus. It causes a fever, a cough, and shortness of breath. It mainly spreads person-to-person through droplets from coughing and sneezing. The virus also can spread when people are in close contact with someone who is infected. It’s important to not spread the virus to others. By taking action now, we can slow the virus and flatten the curve.

CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

COVID-19 resource page

Ask our expert - Dr. John Brown

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.

Frequently asked questions

What is coronavirus?
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.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
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.

How is coronavirus spread?
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.

What do I do if I am concerned I might have the virus?
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.

What do I do if I am experiencing severe symptoms of the virus?
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.

Should I wear a facemask to protect myself?
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.

Learn more

How are cases reported to the community?
Positive tests performed are reported as “monitored” cases until officially confirmed by the CDC. For the most up to date local information, please utilize the links below.

Does Gritman test for COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?
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 208-882-7506

COVID-19 Hotline at 208-883-4109

Text COVID19 to  208-295-5080 to get a link to our online assessment and symptom checker tool.

Is Gritman prepared to handle an influx of suspected COVID-19 patient cases?
Gritman Medical Center has streamlined its process and facilities for helping assess and treat patients with respiratory symptoms and concerns during the COVID-19 health emergency.

The Gritman Emergency Department Mobile Respiratory Unit is located in the parking lot of our Emergency Department. It specializes in screening and evaluating any patients who have respiratory symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath) and those with other respiratory conditions similar to cold and flu.

How else is Gritman preparing for a possible increase in patients?
Gritman Medical Center has taken numerous steps to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, including working closely with community organizations, institutions and businesses like the University of Idaho and others to prepare in the event of a surge of infectious patients that exceeds the hospital’s capacity. Read more

How is Gritman handling patient visitors?
Due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, we are restricting visitor access to the hospital:

No visitors are allowed in any patient room with the exception of one parent or guardian for pediatric patients.
One companion is allowed for delivering mothers in the Family Birth Center.
No visitors are allowed in the Emergency Department with the exception of one parent or guardian for pediatric patients.

While we understand how important the support of loved ones and friends is to patients during their hospital stay, the intent of these restrictions is to do everything we can to protect you, patients and the community. We are encouraging alternative means of communication through cellphones or other mobile devices.

I was a patient at a hospital where a COVID-19 was treated, should I be concerned?
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.

How to self-quarantine

Tips to self-quarantine

  • Stay home. Don’t go to school, work, or public areas. And don’t use public transportation. Leave your home only if you need to get medical care. But call the doctor’s office first so they know you’re coming. And wear a cloth face cover.
  • Ask before leaving isolation. Talk with your doctor or other health professional about when it will be safe for you to leave isolation.
  • Wear a cloth face cover when you are around other people. It can help stop the spread of the virus when you cough or sneeze.
  • Limit contact with people in your home. If possible, stay in a separate bedroom and use a separate bathroom.
  • Avoid contact with pets and other animals. If you can, have a friend or family member care for them while you’re sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then throw the tissue in the trash right away.
  • Wash your hands often, especially after you cough or sneeze. Use soap and water, and scrub for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Don’t share personal household items. These include bedding, towels, cups and glasses, and eating utensils.
  • Clean and disinfect your home every day. Use household cleaners or disinfectant wipes or sprays. Take special care to clean things that you grab with your hands. These include doorknobs, remote controls, phones, and handles on your refrigerator and microwave. And don’t forget countertops, tabletops, bathrooms, and computer keyboards.
  • Take acetaminophen (Tylenol) to relieve fever and body aches. Read and follow all instructions on the label.

Helping others to practice social distancing
Learning how to spend your time while social distancing

Talking to kids about the virus

This may be an upsetting time for children. They may wonder why people are staying home and why they can’t go to school or play with friends. You can help them understand what’s going on and help them feel safe. Here are some steps and tips for how to talk to children about the COVID-19 outbreak.

Steps you can take to protect yourself and your family.

  • Wash hands well and often. Everyone in your household needs to do this
  • Practice social distancing.
    Social distancing means putting space—6 feet (2 meters)—between you and other people. And avoid contact with others as much as you can. This may be tough with kids, but it’s so important to help prevent the spread of the virus.
  • Keep your child at home as much as possible. Don’t let your child go to other homes for visits or playdates.
  • Limit visitors to your home. Help your child connect to friends and family by phone or computer.
  • Help your child stay active in safe ways. Walk or ride bikes with your child. Look for games that encourage indoor activity. Or turn on music and have a dance party.
  • Wear cloth face covers. Have older children wear a cloth face cover if they are sick or if they have to go with you to public places like the grocery store or pharmacy. Children under 2 years of age should not wear a face cover.

Tips for how to talk to children about the COVID-19 outbreak.

  • Give them the facts. Keep the information simple and reassuring. Gear the information to your child’s age.
  • Teach them what they can do. Everyone can help prevent the spread of germs. And taking action can help kids feel more in control.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Wash your hands after you use the bathroom, before you eat or make food, and after you cough, sneeze, or blow your nose.
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue. Put the tissue in the trash right away. Then wash your hands.
  • Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth. That helps keep germs out of your body.
  • Keep talking and listening. As they adjust to these changes, kids may need more love and attention.
  • Make time to listen. Encourage your child to talk about any concerns or fears they have. This gives you a chance to correct rumors or false information they may have heard.

Signs of stress in children and teenagers

Talking to Kids Pdf

Charlie story graphic

Click to read

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?

Handwashing poster PDF

image of hand washing poster


Hospital isolation rooms

Isolation rooms are special hospital rooms that keep patients with certain medical conditions separate from other people while they receive medical care. Patients who are being treated in isolation may be allowed to have visitors. But all visitors and hospital workers who enter the room almost always wear masks, gowns, and gloves to prevent the spread of contagious diseases.

Learn about reducing germs and infections in the home

Help with managing stress

Public health emergencies like COVID-19 can be stressful and cause anxiety. It’s important to take the time to manage your stress so you can stay positive and optimistic—and that’s good for your physical health too. We are here to help you learn more about keeping up your mental health and wellness. When stress hits, you can feel it. You might feel tired or overwhelmed. Stress can cause a pounding headache or even fluttering or pain in your belly. It doesn’t feel good, no matter how you feel it. Finding ways to reduce stress can help you feel better.

Managing anxiety during the COVID-19 outbreak

Coping with cabin fever during the COVID-19 outbreak

What is stigma around COVID-19?
COVID-19: Coping with loneliness
Watch Stress Management: Relaxing Your Muscles
Watch Stress Management: Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Mental health resources

Stop Negative Thoughts: Getting Started
Unwanted thoughts can make you feel anxious or depressed. They may keep you from enjoying your life.
Anxiety can cause physical and emotional symptoms.
Mental and Behavioral Health
Many people are affected by mental health problems such as depression or panic disorders.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration SAMHSA
Public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation and to improve the lives of individuals.