Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and FAQs

Coronavirus: What you need to know

Covenant HealthCare is monitoring the worldwide response to the coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19, a major global health concern. Covenant officials are in constant contact with the local and state health officials to take all precautions to protect our patients and staff. If you have questions about COVID-19 that cannot be answered here, call the Covenant Care Connect hotline at 989.583.3135.

Click on the links below to find out answers to frequently asked questions about COVID-19. You may also view responses to all questions by continuing to scroll down the page.

COVID-19 Vaccination Information

Who can get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Who should not get the COVID-19 vaccine?

I have an allergy to other medications/vaccines; can I still receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

I am currently sick; can I still receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

Can I receive the COVID-19 vaccine if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

I am immunocompromised; can I still receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

I have an underlying medical condition; can I still receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

I was exposed to COVID-19 recently; can I still receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

I was previously infected with COVID-19; can I still receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

I just received a non-COVID-19 vaccination, when can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

What side effects should I expect?

How do I know my symptoms are from the vaccine and not an actual COVID-19 infection?


General Information about COVID-19

What is COVID-19?

According to the CDC, COVID-19 is a disease caused by a virus called SARS-CoV-2. Most people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms, but some people can become severely ill. Although most people with COVID-19 get better within weeks of illness, some people experience post-COVID conditions. Post-COVID conditions are a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems people can experience more than four weeks after first being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Older people and those who have certain underlying medical conditions are more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19.

View the CDC website for more information


What are the symptoms?

According to the World Health Organization, common signs of COVID-19 infection are similar to the common cold although some people show no symptoms at all. Symptoms can include but are not limited to:

  • respiratory symptoms
  • fever
  • cough
  • shortness of breath
  • breathing difficulties

In rare severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. Symptoms can appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus.


Who is at risk?

As the virus spreads within the U.S., the elderly and those with multiple medical problems are at highest risk for more serious disease.


Does everyone who suspects COVID-19 need medical treatment?

No. The vast majority of cases diagnosed thus far around the world have been mild or completely without symptoms and may be cared for by staying home and using comfort care similar to those for a cold: fluids, rest and over-the-counter medications. Hospitals will focus on caring for those who have more severe cases of the virus, such as populations with underlying health issues that put them at greater risk.


When should I seek emergency care if I have COVID-19?

According to the CDC, Look for emergency warning signs* for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs listed below, seek emergency medical care immediately.

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone

*This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

More information is available on the CDC website.


What should I do if I think I might be infected?

Call your doctor if you…

If you feel sick with fever, cough or difficulty breathing, contact your healthcare provider.

Call the provider before you arrive if you think it’s possible you have a COVID-19 infection. If you have a trusted healthcare provider, please contact them for advice and care. As always if there is a life-threatening emergency, call 911.


What classifies as an exposure to a positive person?

Direct in-person exposure to someone who is contagious with COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes over a period of 24 hours. Exposure to a person who was exposed does not count.


What are the quarantine guidelines after COVID-19 exposure?

Stay up to date with the most current CDC isolation and quarantine guidelines by utilizing the CDC website.

Local public health authorities make the final decisions on quarantine time based on local conditions and needs. Considerations for vaccination status and method of exposure may allow shorter quarantine times. View the Saginaw Health Department Quarantine Guidance Fall 2021 document for recommendations in Saginaw County.

Source: CDC - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/quarantine-isolation.html


What are the isolation guidelines after a positive COVID-19 test result?

According to the CDC, Isolation is used to separate people infected with COVID-19 from those who are not infected.

People who are in isolation should stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others. At home, anyone sick or infected should separate from others, stay in a specific “sick room” or area, and use a separate bathroom (if available).

  • Monitor your symptoms. If you have an emergency warning sign (including trouble breathing), seek emergency medical care immediately.
  • Stay in a separate room from other household members, if possible.
  • Use a separate bathroom, if possible.
  • Avoid contact with other members of the household and pets.
  • Don’t share personal household items, like cups, towels, and utensils.
  • Wear a mask when around other people if able.
  • Learn more about what to do if you are sick and how to notify your contacts.

There are different time recommendations based on vaccination status and other circumstances, please view the CDC website below for recommendations based on your particular circumstance.

Source: CDC - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/quarantine-isolation.html


How can I prevent the spread and stay healthy?

The CDC offers tips on preventing COVID-19 infection. Simple precautions are most effective:

  • Get Vaccinated.
  • Wear a mask.
  • Social distance by staying 6 feet away from others.
  • Avoid large crowds and poorly ventilated spaces.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home if you have symptoms of respiratory illness, not feeling well, or are caring for someone who is sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, especially in common areas of your home or work setting.
  • Monitor you health daily.

How can the community help Covenant in the local fight against COVID-19?

Our community has shown extraordinary generosity and support, and we thank you.

At this time we are asking that the community diligently follow the guidelines to protect themselves and others from COVID-19. Vaccinations are available for COVID-19 that help to reduce the likelihood of getting COVID-19 or from becoming seriously ill from a COVID-19 infection.  Other guidelines include frequent handwashing, social distancing, wearing a mask, cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces in your home, work or common areas.


I have questions about COVID-19, can I speak with someone?

If you have questions about Covid-19 that are not answered by this page, you may contact the Covenant Care Connect Hotline. Covenant established a hotline for staff and the community to call with questions and for COVID-19 screening for testing orders which has now transitioned to Covenant Care Connect which can help connect you to personalized care. The Covenant Care Connect Hotline (989.583.3135) is staffed by advanced practice providers and nurses to handle questions about COVID-19, but also much more via telephone. The Hotline is operational Monday through Saturday 7:30 am to 7:30 pm, Sundays 10 am to 6 pm, and Holidays 9 am to 3 pm (Closed Christmas Day).

Covenant strongly recommends that people concerned that they may have contracted COVID-19 call their doctor or the Covenant Care Connect Hotline at 989.583.3135. If someone is experiencing severe symptoms, they should go immediately to an emergency department, or call 911.


Where is the best source of up-to-date information about COVID-19?

Information related to the virus will continue to grow. In addition to checking this page for updates, stay connected to other reliable sources. Here are links to websites with COVID-19 information:

Testing Information

Who gets tested for COVID-19?

People who have symptoms of COVID-19. CDC recommends that anyone with any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 get tested, regardless of vaccination status or prior infection.

People who have had a recent, known COVID-19 exposure. If you've had close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you should get tested 3-5 days after your exposure, even if you don't have symptoms and follow isolation and quarantine recommendations.

Patients who need testing prior to a procedure or surgery (pre-authorization)

Individuals who need proof of testing for upcoming travel

Source: CDC - COVID-19 Testing Overview - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/testing.html


What are my options to get COVID testing?

You can call your Primary care physician, the Covenant Care Connect Hotline at (989.583.3135) , or go to www.michigan.gov and search “find test sites.” Testing at Covenant locations requires a physician's order or screening and an order from the Covenant Care Connect Hotline (989.583.3135). There may be other testing locations in the community that do not require an order for testing.


Where are Covenant testing locations?

After many months of service, the Covenant COVID-19 Testing Site, located in the former Sears building at Bay and Tittabawassee Roads, will have its final day on Friday, March 4. After the Omicron peak, we have seen a steady decline in the number of people seeking testing. COVID-19 testing will now be available at select laboratory locations (Mackinaw will only perform COVID tests on asymptomatic patients for pre-admission testing), and a physician’s order is still required. Thank you to the dedicated testing center team who for many months assisted hundreds of patients in our community!

All COVID-19 testing performed at Covenant requires a physician order.

If you believe you need a test, please call your physician for an order for testing or call the Covenant Care Connect Hotline at 989.583.3135 to be screened for an order.


When should I get tested after an exposure?

If you've had close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you should get tested 3-5 days after your exposure, even if you don't have symptoms. Testing too soon does not allow the virus to be detected.

Keep in mind that an exposure is classified as: Direct in-person exposure to someone who is contagious with COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes over a period of 24 hours. Exposure to a person who was exposed does not count.


Does Covenant Conduct Rapid Testing?

Covenant is provided a very limited supplies of accurate rapid tests. These are reserved for patients presenting at Covenant with critical need to determine if they are COVID-19 positive. We are continuously exploring ways to provide accurate and quality rapid testing and recently purchased equipment to conduct additional rapid tests.


Where can I go to get a rapid test?

At this time, there are no locations that we recommend for high quality, accurate rapid testing.


Do I need to get an antibody test?

We recommend you discuss this option with your primary care physician.


Who can be screened and have a test ordered through the Covenant Care Connect Hotline?

You can be screened and have a test ordered through the hotline if you have a known exposure, are a Covenant employee, or are having symptoms associated with COVID-19. Otherwise, you will need to go one of the community testing locations or contact your primary care physician.

Patient Care Information

What is Covenant HealthCare doing to prevent the spread of coronavirus?

As the region’s largest Emergency Care Center, Covenant HealthCare has policies and procedures in place that guide and prepare our medical teams to handle a variety of health-related events such as this.

Emergency management committees which include leaders and experts from across the organization, have been meeting for months to monitor the evolving situation and adjust operations accordingly. We are following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization. In addition, Covenant officials are in regular contact with local and state health officials and we will continue to respond as information becomes available.


What is Covenant HealthCare doing to address the coronavirus?

In order to protect our community, Covenant has implemented the following:

  • We are closely following all CDC guidelines and recommendations related to COVID-19 for testing and patient care
  • Visitor restrictions have been implemented in a phased approach since January 2020.
  • More frequent cleaning and disinfecting of common areas and shared surfaces.
  • Emergency preparedness plans began in early March of 2020. These plans have been refined and strengthened over the years with past outbreaks including the swine flu, Ebola, and Zika.
  • Outlining/mapping of isolation procedures and surge areas.
  • Continuous close monitoring of supplies, including personal protective equipment to protect our staff and patients.
  • All self-service food and refreshment stations were at one time removed from the facilities. An increase in pre-packaged foods will be available.
  • The Covenant Outpatient Pharmacy is offering curbside pick-up and free shipping. Some health plans are offering early and group refills on certain prescriptions.
  • Reinforcing CDC messages and sharing what we know on our website, social media, and with local news stations to educate the public.
  • At the peak, an off-site drive-through screening and sampling site was established.
  • The Covenant Laboratory has been validated to process COVID-19 tests.
  • A Covenant Care Connect hotline is available at 989.583.3135.
  • In order to help prevent the spread, effective January 17, 2022 Covenant is asking all patients, visitors and staff to wear (at minimum) a disposable surgical/ear loop mask. Personal cloth masks are no longer permitted for use inside Covenant facilities. Clinical staff will still need to follow PPE guidelines as this does not replace clinical protective gear guidelines.  

Does Covenant HealthCare screen all patients before entering the building?

Yes, All Covenant locations are performing screening for Covid-19 at each entrance. Please inform the screener you are coming in for Covid symptoms and they will direct you where to go at that location for admitting.


Are masks required to enter Covenant facilities?

As of April 2, 2020 everyone who enters any Covenant facility will be required to wear a mask. This wasn’t a decision made lightly and it was not a decision made out of panic or fear. The goal is to do our part to protect one another.

Effective January 17, 2022: Personal cloth masks will no longer be permitted.  All individuals entering Covenant facilities will be required to use a disposable surgical/ear loop mask, at minimum. If a visitor does not have a mask, one will be provided.


What are the current visitor restrictions?

For the most up to date visitation guidelines by area, please visit www.covenanthealthcare.com/safecare.

We appreciate your understanding during these changing times. Our goal is to protect you, your loved ones and our staff. If you have any questions, please contact our patient advocate at (989) 583.4317.


Will my surgery still take place?

The health and safety of our patients, staff, providers and community is our top priority. Teams are using careful consideration, taking into account guidelines and recommendations from the CDC, Surgeon General, and American College of Surgeons.

We will continue to monitor disease activities and resources in the community and will take a data-driven approach to changes in the recommendations, particularly regarding the duration of care deferral.

If you have questions regarding your procedure, please contact your physician’s office for further details.


Is it safe for me to deliver my baby at Covenant?

Covenant is well-equipped to care for you and your baby. Our staff is following local, state and CDC guidelines and recommendations for caring for patients requiring obstetrical services. For more information, talk to your OB doctor should you have concerns. We understand that family and support systems are an important part of this experience. Please make sure you review our most up-to-date visitor policies.


How do I know if a location is closed or class is canceled?

Location closures may be listed at the top of the Covenant homepage. You are welcome to call ahead or check the corresponding service website from the navigation above.  Many classes have also resumed or are offered virtually. You can view the upcoming events and classes on our Events calendar.  


Why should I be connected to MyChart during times like this?

MyChart is an electronic medical record that allows patients and providers to stay connected electronically. MyChart offers features to conveniently make an appointment, schedule a vaccine appointment, send non-urgent medical messages, have a virtual visit, view test results and renew prescriptions. Learn more about MyChart at Covenant.


Can I send flowers to my loved one in the hospital?

At this time, we can accept delivery of flowers for patients that are not COVID-19 positive.

Some other ways you can send your well wishes are to send an E-Greeting Card or visit the Visit Patients Virtually page to learn more about video chat options.

COVID-19 Vaccination Information

Who can get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Pfizer-BioNTech (COMIRNATY) received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval on August 23, 2021, for individuals ages 16 years and older. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is authorized for individuals ages 5–15 years.

The Moderna vaccine is recommended for people aged 18 years and older.

The J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine is recommended for people 18 years and older.

Source: CDC - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines.html


Who should not get the COVID-19 vaccine?

If you have had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) or an immediate allergic reaction, even if it was not severe, to any ingredient in an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (such as polyethylene glycol), you should not get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

If you had a severe or immediate allergic reaction after getting the first dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, you should not get a second dose of either of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech).

A severe allergic reaction is one that needs to be treated with epinephrine or EpiPen or with medical care. Learn about common side effects of COVID-19 vaccines and when to call a doctor.

An immediate allergic reaction means a reaction within 4 hours of getting the shot, including symptoms such as hives, swelling, or wheezing (respiratory distress).

If you aren’t able to get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, you may still be able to get a different type of COVID-19 vaccine. Get more information for people with allergies.

Source: CDC - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/Pfizer-BioNTech.html


I have an allergy to other medications/vaccines; can I still receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

If you have a history of a severe allergic reaction (e.g., anaphylaxis) to any component of the COVID-19 vaccine, you should NOT get vaccinated. If you have a history of severe allergic reaction to another vaccine or injectable medication, you may still receive the COVID-19 vaccine, but should be monitored for a longer period following administration. For all other situations, you can still receive the COVID-19 vaccine and follow standard monitoring procedure following administration. Your doctor will help you decide if it is safe for you to get vaccinated.

Source - CDC - COVID-19 Vaccines for People with Allergies - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations/specific-groups/allergies.html


I am currently sick; can I still receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

No. Whether you have a current COVID-19 infection or other acute illness, it is recommended you wait until your symptoms are resolved before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. There is no minimal time interval between infection and vaccination, but we would recommend you be fever free for at least 24 hours.


Can I receive the COVID-19 vaccine if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

If a woman is part of a group who is recommended to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and is pregnant or breastfeeding, she may choose to be vaccinated. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should discuss with their healthcare provider prior to administration to evaluate their individual risk.


I am immunocompromised; can I still receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, immunocompromised people may receive the COVID-19 vaccine unless otherwise contraindicated. Currently, there is not data available to establish safety or efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine in this group. However, this population is at risk of for severe COVID-19 infections and would benefit from vaccination. There is a potential for the vaccine to be less effective in this population and individuals should continue to follow current guidance to protect themselves against COVID-19, including limiting social gatherings and mask wearing.


I have an underlying medical condition; can I still receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, a COVID-19 vaccine may be administered to people with underlying medical conditions who have no contraindications to vaccination.


I was exposed to COVID-19 recently; can I still receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

It is recommended that you wait until your quarantine period has ended to be vaccinated to avoid exposing healthcare personnel and others during the vaccination visit. Special consideration may be made to those living in congregate settings like long-term care facilities and correctional facilities.

View the current guidance on quarantine and isolation times from the CDC - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/quarantine-isolation.html


I was previously infected with COVID-19; can I still receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, you should still be vaccinated against COVID-19. It is unknown how long immunity last following infection, but some research is suggesting immunity could start waning after 90 days. Vaccination is the best way to make sure you are still protected from another COVID-19 infection.


I just received a non-COVID-19 vaccination, when can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

The CDC indicates that you can get a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines, including a flu vaccine, at the same visit. Experience with other vaccines has shown that the way our bodies develop protection, known as an immune response, and possible side effects after getting vaccinated are generally the same when given alone or with other vaccines. Learn more about the timing of other vaccines.


What side effects should I expect?

The most commonly reported side effects were pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, and fever. These symptoms typically resolve in one or two days. Side effects were more common following the second dose.


How do I know my symptoms are from the vaccine and not an actual COVID-19 infection?

After a vaccination you may experience side effects such as fever, headache, and muscle aches. These also happen to be symptoms of a COVID-19 infection. With the vaccine, these symptoms should resolve with 1-2 days of onset. If these symptoms last longer than 2 days, you may have a COVID-19 infection. If you have any other symptoms like cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose, or loss of taste or smell, these are not from the vaccine and may be symptoms of COVID-19 or another infection. The COVID-19 vaccine WILL NOT give you an infection.