COVID-19 Information for the Community

Methodist Coronavirus (COVID-19) Hotline

Have you been exposed to coronavirus and are currently experiencing any of the following?

  • Fever of 100 degrees or higher
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing
If yes, please call the Methodist Coronavirus (COVID-19) Hotline at (402) 815-7425 (SICK).

The Methodist Coronavirus (COVID-19) Hotline is staffed every day from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Operators can address questions about the disease, connect you to your county health department or discuss concerns about exposure.

Exposure is considered to be close contact with a known carrier or travel to an endemic area.

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Need to talk?

Feelings of fear, anxiety, sadness and uncertainty are normal during challenging times. The Methodist Emotional Support Line is here to help.

The free, confidential service is available daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and staffed by licensed professional counselors from the Methodist Hospital Community Counseling Program. The counselors can assist callers who may be experiencing feelings such as:

  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Sadness
  • Depression

If you or a loved one are experiencing these feelings, call (402) 815-8255 (TALK) to speak to a counselor.

Counselors can help callers by answering questions, addressing concerns, scheduling counseling appointments for additional care and providing referrals to community resources.

If you have been exposed to coronavirus and are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please call the Methodist Coronavirus (COVID-19) Hotline at (402) 815-7425 (SICK).

If you’re experiencing a medical or mental health emergency, please call 911.
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Methodist's COVID-19 Response

COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving public health situation. Methodist Health System is committed to keeping you and your loved ones safe and informed. On this site, you will find updates for patients and visitors to Methodist hospitals and clinics, including:

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Self-Screening Policy

Methodist Health System is asking all visitors to self-screen prior to entering our facilities due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.

If you have experienced any of the following, we encourage you to stay home to avoid the possibility of exposing others:

  • Fever of 100 degrees or higher

  • Cough

  • Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing

  • Known coronavirus (COVID-19 virus) exposure

If you have experienced any of these symptoms and have been exposed to coronavirus, please call our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Hotline at 402-815-SICK (7425).

Exposure is considered to be close contact with a known carrier or travel to an endemic area.

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Hospital and Facility Visitor Policies

As of April 1, no visitors will be allowed at Methodist Health System hospitals and Methodist Physicians Clinic locations.

Limited access points will be established at all hospital locations to further assist with policy implementation.

Exceptions to the no visitor policy are as follows:

  • Labor/delivery patient limited to one labor partner
  • NICU and postpartum infant limited to parents or parent and designated health care partner
  • Pediatric/minor patient limited to one parent/guardian
  • Dependent adult needing special assistance from a support person as determined by the care team
  • Patient receiving end-of-life care as determined by the care team

We encourage families to assist patients with other means of communication such as FaceTime, Skype, phone calls, WebEx, text messaging, etc.

We strongly encourage hospital patients and visitors to avoid food deliveries from outside vendors. Please ask a staff member about the numerous food service options available. Thank you for helping us reduce the number of people entering our facilities.

We realize these policies may be challenging for our patients and their loved ones. Thank you for understanding the importance of our heightened precautions. Please know that Methodist’s commitment to the health and safety of our staff and patients remains top of mind during this pandemic.

Please be aware that these policies may change suddenly as this situation evolves.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Was there a confirmed case of COVID-19 identified in Methodist Health System?

Yes, a patient tested positive for COVID-19. The patient presented to the Methodist Women’s Hospital Emergency Department on March 5. After reviewing their symptoms, recent travel, tests and condition, it was determined that, out of an abundance of caution, the patient would be admitted to Methodist Hospital with full safety precautions in place. After the lab results returned, it was determined by medical staff that the patient would be transferred to Nebraska Medicine.

Were Methodist Hospital patients or visitors exposed to COVID-19 while at the hospital?

Every precautionary measure was taken to keep the identified patient isolated. No additional exposures have been identified at Methodist Hospital.

What is the status of Methodist Women’s Hospital employees who were exposed to the patient?

All employees who were potentially exposed to COVID-19 are self-quarantined and being monitored under the direction of Douglas County health officials following CDC and state health department recommendations.

What are the clinical features of COVID-19?

The clinical spectrum of COVID-19 ranges from mild disease with nonspecific signs and symptoms of acute respiratory illness to severe pneumonia with respiratory failure and septic shock. There have also been reports of asymptomatic infection.

Who is at risk for severe disease from COVID-19?

Current data shows that the following people may be at risk for more severe outcomes:

  • Older adults

  • People who have underlying chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes or lung disease

  • People with compromised immune systems

If you fall under these categories, the CDC recommends:

  • Having the necessary medications, household items and groceries to stay home for a period of time

  • Keeping space between yourself and others

  • When in public, limiting close contact and washing your hands often

  • Avoiding crowds as much as possible

  • If there is a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, staying home as much as possible

  • Considering avoiding air travel

When is someone infectious?

Asymptomatic infection with COVID-19 has been reported, but it is not yet known what role asymptomatic infection plays in transmission. Similarly, the role of presymptomatic transmission (infection detection during the incubation period prior to illness onset) is unknown. Existing literature regarding COVID-19 suggests that the incubation period may range from two to 14 days.

How is COVID-19 treated?

Not all patients with COVID-19 will require medical supportive care. Clinical management for hospitalized patients with COVID-19 is focused on supportive care (pain relief, fluids and rest).

There are currently no antiviral drugs or vaccines licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat COVID-19. Researchers and medical providers are finding that the COVID-19 mortality rate seems to be lower than initially thought.

What can I do to prevent being infected with COVID-19?
  • Clean your hands often. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Stay home when you are sick.

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

  • Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily (e.g., tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles) using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

  • Follow the CDC’s recommendations for using a face mask: 

    • The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.

    • Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease. The use of face masks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).

How is COVID-19 affecting travel?

For the latest updates on travel recommendations and warnings, visit the CDC’s website.

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Donate Medical Supplies

When we needed you, you answered the call. We have been astounded and so impressed with the members of our community. So many of you are asking: “How can I help?” We wanted to provide the following information for how Methodist Health System is accepting donations.

Currently we have a critical need for the following new/unopened items:

  • N95 respirator masks
  • Face masks and shields
  • Goggles
  • Isolation gowns (impervious)
  • Hand sanitizer (ethyl alcohol 60%)

If you have any of the above items:

  • In Omaha, the drop-off location is just inside the main entrance at Methodist Health System’s corporate office located at 825 S. 169th St.
  • Drop-off hours are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday.
  • If you have additional inquiries, please call (402) 354-4533.
  • In Council Bluffs, please call (712) 890-5365.
  • In Fremont, please call (402) 727-3566.
  • Methodist Fremont Health is also accepting cards, new/unopened snacks, and crossword and dot-to-dot books for the residents at Dunklau Gardens.

Due to the amazing response by our community, Methodist Hospital and Methodist Women's Hospital are no longer accepting hand-sewn products at this time. If you have a hand-sewn donation that you would like to make and live in the Council Bluffs or Fremont communities, please use the contact information provided above for further instructions.

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More Resources

For more information on COVID-19, access the following organizations:

Bestcare Today Articles

Read more information about COVID-19 from Methodist providers.

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Media Inquiries

For all media inquiries, contact Methodist’s director of communication and public relations, Claudia Bohn, at (402) 618-9366.

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