ALERT

For the latest coronavirus care instructions and resources, please call our COVID-19 hotline at 208-381-9500.

Find additional information and resources here.
toggle mobile menu Menu
toggle search menu

Site Navigation

Supplemental

Menu

Blog Post

St. Luke’s Blogs

St. Luke’s COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) recommendations and resources for patients

novel coronavirus
March 27, 2020

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough, shortness of breath and gastrointestinal distress and are concerned you may have risk factors for coronavirus, please call the triage hotline at 208-381-9500. 

  • We will be able to complete a risk assessment over the phone and provide guidance on next steps, which may include arranging specimen collection for testing if necessary.
  • If you need to visit the emergency department to treat severe symptoms, call ahead to your local facility and ask for a protective facemask when you arrive. Please do not call the Emergency Department with general COVID-19 questions. Please use the hotline listed above (or a local public health hotline listed below) for general COVID-19 questions and concerns.
  • Follow the guidance below to prevent the spread of illness.
  • If you think you might have symptoms of COVID-19 or may have been exposed, use this self-triage tool to help you determine what to do. Note: You will be required to login to myChart to access the tool. This also DOES NOT substitute for advice from your Primary Care Provider (PCP).

Quick navigation:

Learn how to help, support 

In response to the outpouring of offers from community members to donate supplies and/or make monetary donations, we've created a single information webpage for those interested in learning more. Find it here. Soon, you will also be able to sign up for temporary volunteer services during this time. 

St. Luke's Heritage House closure

The St. Luke’s Heritage House has closed to ensure the safety of our guests and employees. We have partnered with the Candlewood Suites hotels and Comfort Inn and Suites to provide alternative accommodations. If you contact them, mention that you were referred by St. Luke’s to receive a discount rate of $65 per night at Candlewood Suites and $85 per night at Comfort Inn. 

Candlewood: 700 N. Cole Rd., Boise, ID, 208-322-4300 and 1855 S. Silverstone, Meridian, ID, 208-888-5121

Comfort Inn: 3625 W Elder St, Boise, ID, 208-342-1075

New outpatient pharmacy prescription drop-off and pick-up

(Reviewed and updated as of March 27)

Boise, Meridian and Nampa hospitals are now offering temporary outpatient pharmacy prescription drop-off and pickup services in the parking lots.

At each of these facilities, our pharmacy team will manage prescription drop-off and pickup from a secure mobile storage unit in the hospital parking lot. On-site signage and St. Luke’s staff will direct you to dedicated pharmacy parking spots and our team will assist you while you remain in your car. Each pharmacy will maintain regular operating hours.

This prescription pickup and drop-off service is available for our patients, community members and employees. Please note, any St. Luke’s employee working within the St. Luke’s Boise, Meridian and Nampa hospitals will still be able to drop-off and pickup prescriptions at the outpatient pharmacy inside the facility.

Locations for outpatient pharmacy prescription drop-off and pick-up

New visitor policy

(Reviewed and updated as of March 27)

Thermal temperature scanner process for staff and visitors at the Boise hospital. Coming to Magic Valley and Meridian soon.

Starting at 6 p.m. Friday, March 27, the main lobby entrance at the Boise Medical Center will have a thermal temperature scanner that will record the temperature of visitors and staff members as they enter the facility.

  • The temperature scanner will be in use daily from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • When you arrive, please move through the entrance at your normal pace and follow the line, single file. Note: There will be two lines, one for staff and one for visitors. 
  • Thermal temperature scanners will be launched in Magic Valley and Meridian in the coming days.

St. Luke’s acute hospitals, clinics, and clinical facilities have implemented a no-visitor policy

Main entrance doors and ED entrances will remain open. Other access points may be locked. All exits will be accessible. We will have staff on-hand at entrances to conduct a brief verbal screening for visitors that meet the limited exceptions listed below. 

Visitation exceptions

  • Obstetric patients may have one partner and one birth-support person accompany them. 
    • For surrogacy deliveries, the surrogate is allowed one visitor and the baby is allowed one birth/intended parent and a significant other. 
  • Minors under age 18 may have two visitors: parent or guardian. 
  • Patients undergoing BMT/ transplant may have one visitor. 
  • Patients requiring ambulation support during an appointment at a clinic, laboratory, or radiology may have one visitor. 

Additional clinical considerations

  • Patients who are at the end of life may have two visitors. 
  • Patients with disruptive behavior, where a family member is key to their care, may have one visitor. 
  • Patients who have altered mental status or developmental delays (where caregivers provide safety) may have one visitor. 
  • Patients with a life-threatening diagnosis may have one person with them for the initial 24 hours; this includes Emergency Department visits.

Symptom screening

No visitor exhibiting or reporting the following symptoms will be permitted, regardless of whether they meet the criteria above.
  • Respiratory infection (fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, etc.).
  • Contact with someone confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
  • GI symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea).
Visitors must remain in the patient room during their visit. Once the visitor leaves the patient room, they must leave the facility. 

We will not permit
  • Non-patient children under the age of 14, except under extraordinary circumstances (e.g., end of life). 
  • Deliveries (flowers, gifts, balloons, food, etc.). 
  • Vendors, unless they have essential roles in patient care (assisting providers, delivering supplies, etc.). 

New surgery and procedure policy

(Reviewed and updated as of March 23)

In response to supporting safe care, safe environment and continual readiness, scheduling of new non-urgent /non-emergent operative and invasive procedures is paused indefinitely. Elective cases scheduled after Sunday, March 22, must be canceled. Cases already scheduled through March 22, may proceed if surgeon feels it is in the best interest of the patient.

Urgent/emergent operative and invasive procedures, will be performed with consideration of the following factors:
  • Impending threat to a patent’s well-being from infection, anatomic or physiologic disorder or cancer condition that imposes a time sensitive threat to the patent.
  • Patient’s clinical status should be such that they can tolerate the procedure.
  • Availability of hospital beds, staff, protective personal equipment, supply availability, including blood, and the COVID-19 infectious burden of the facility may at times govern availability of operating rooms.

Drive-up tents for screening and specimen collection for testing

(Reviewed and updated as of March 27)

In an effort to help manage patient flow in all urgent care, emergency department and ambulatory clinic sites, we will be standing up COVID-19 tents for screening and specimen collection for testing. The tents will hold supplies, and patients will stay in their cars for screening, registration and specimen collection for testing. Please note: If patients arrive needing medical care, they will be directed appropriately (e.g. immediate attention to ED). If patients present and don’t meet the criteria for testing, they will be sent home to conserve resources.

We will no longer be collecting specimens for testing at clinics in locations where drive-up tents exist. We will continue to transition kits as we stand up tents, city by city. Primary care and general pediatric clinics may keep general supplies in order to still meet flu-testing demands. If COVID-19 testing is needed, we are directing patients to identified screening and specimen collection locations. This is a recommended practice in order to conserve and optimize staffing and supplies.

We will evaluate the need for additional sites to follow. If you are concerned or need to be screened or tested, call our hotline at 208-381-9500. This is changing on an hourly basis; stay tuned for updates.

As noted above, COVID-19 screening at the St. Luke’s Meridian tent location is experiencing high volume at this time; traffic control is in effect, and visitors are asked to exercise caution and to avoid the area if there is not the clear and present need to be screened. 

Locations for screening and specimen collection for testing

  • Wood River: While normal operations at St. Luke's Wood River have been temporarily suspended, drive-up tent screening and specimen collection for testing is available at St. Luke's Wood River hospital, 100 Hospital Dr, Ketchum, ID 83340, Monday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Emergency Department also will remain open for urgent cases. Find more details here. Maps of screening area: Map to view in browser (jpg) | Map to print (pdf)

  • Meridian: Drive-up tent screening and specimen collection for testing is available at St. Luke's Meridian hospital, 520 S. Eagle Rd, Meridian, ID 83642, Monday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Maps of screening area: Map to view in browser (jpg) | Map to print (pdf)

  • Boise: Drive-up tent screening and specimen collection for testing is available on the north side of St. Luke's Plaza campus building, 800 E. Park Blvd., Boise, ID 83712, Monday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Maps of screening area: Map to view in browser (jpg) | Map to print (pdf)

  • Nampa: Call the St. Luke's triage hotline at 208-381-9500 for screening and triage. A member of the clinical staff will complete a risk assessment over the phone and provide guidance on next steps, which may include specimen collection for testing at a local facility, if necessary.

  • McCall: To help manage the flow of traffic, the parking lot is to be accessed from Forest Street. The east driveway, adjacent to the hospital, will be the entrance and the west driveway, adjacent to the clinic, will be the exit. All patients, visitors and contractors will be greeted at their car before entering the St. Luke’s hospital and clinic parking lot from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Suspected COVID-19 patients will be screened at their cars by appointment only and, if needed, have a sample collected for testing. To make an appointment call 208-634-1776.

  • Magic Valley: Drive-up tent screening and specimen collection for testing will be available at St. Luke's Surgery Center at the Magic Valley campus, 575 Pole Line Rd. W., Twin Falls, ID, 83301, Monday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Maps of screening area: Map to view in browser (jpg) | Map to print (pdf)

  • Jerome: Drive-up tent screening and specimen collection for testing is available at St. Luke's Magic Valley hospital. Please visit the Twin Falls site or call the St. Luke's triage hotline at 208-381-9500. A member of the clinical staff will complete a risk assessment over the phone and provide guidance on next steps, which may include specimen collection for testing at a local facility, if necessary.

  • Fruitland: Call the St. Luke's triage hotline at 208-381-9500 for screening and triage. A member of the clinical staff will complete a risk assessment over the phone and provide guidance on next steps, which may include specimen collection for testing at a local facility, if necessary.

  • Baker City: Call the St. Luke's triage hotline at 208-381-9500 for screening and triage. A member of the clinical staff will complete a risk assessment over the phone and provide guidance on next steps, which may include specimen collection for testing at a local facility, if necessary.

Other locations:

  • Saint Alphonsus: Screening and specimen collection for testing available at the main hospital with other locations to come soon. Look for more information soon.
  • Saltzer: Curbside screening and specimen collection for testing available at both Saltzer locations in Nampa. Saltzer patients can contact 208-463-3000 and press 7 for nurse triage.

Infection prevention

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, use the same precautions you would for the flu and common cold. St. Luke’s recommends these infection-prevention practices:

  • If you’re sick, stay home. Call the St. Luke's hotline at 208-381-9500 if you suspect you have the virus.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve – not your hands – when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean your home, work space, shared items and other frequented locations.
  • Avoid unnecessary contact with sick individuals.
  • The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
  • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.

National, state and local resources

St. Luke's suggests you continue to check local resources, including Central District Health (cdhd.idaho.gov) and StLukesOnline.org for guidance. 

In addition, Idaho public health districts have enabled Information Call Centers to respond to local public health calls and to answer questions about the virus.

  • South Central Public Health (Blaine, Camas, Gooding Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka and Twin Falls counties): Operates from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday; call the hotline at 208-737-1138 (English) or 208-737-5965 (Spanish).
  • Central District Health (Ada, Boise, Elmore and Valley counties): Operates weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; call the hotline at 208-321-2222.  
  • Southwest District Health (Adams, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee and Payette counties): Operates weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; call the hotline at 208-455-5411.  
  • North Central Health District (Idaho county): Operates weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; call the hotline at 208-748-0400.  
  • Idaho CareLine: Call the hotline at 2-1-1 or 1-800-926-2588.

Additional resources

Background

A novel strain of coronavirus (formally named COVID-19) has been identified as the cause of an outbreak of lower respiratory illness originating in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common throughout the world. These viruses, at times, can evolve and infect people, and then spread through human-to-human contact. Human coronaviruses spread just like the flu or a cold — through the air by coughing or sneezing; through close personal contact, like touching or shaking hands; by touching an object or surface with the viruses on it; and occasionally, through fecal contamination.

Since it was first discovered in China, there have been outbreaks reported in other countries, including the United States. Find a global list of locations with confirmed cases here. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to update the number of confirmed cases in the United States. Get the latest count here.



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The following St. Luke’s Health System frequently asked questions (FAQs) will be continually updated as we monitor the status of coronavirus (COVID-19) and as we receive questions.

In addition, supplemental FAQs and information can be found through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

What are coronaviruses? 

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common throughout the world. These viruses, at times, can evolve and infect people, and then spread through human-to-human contact. They are the cause of up to 25 percent of the upper respiratory infections seen each year. 

How do you get infected with COVID-19? 

Human coronaviruses, including COVID-19, spread just like the flu or a cold — through the air from coughs or sneezes; through close personal contact, like touching or shaking hands; by touching an object or surface with the viruses on it and then touching your face; and occasionally, through fecal contamination. 

How do I know if I have COVID-19? 

The severity can range from mild to severe illness for confirmed novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases. It has caused many deaths around the world. 

The following symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure:

  • Fever
  • Cough 
  • Shortness of breath
  • GI symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea)

These symptoms alone are not a predictor of COVID-19. Check the Centers for Disease (CDC) guidelines to assess risk.  

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19including fever, cough, shortness of breath and gastrointestinal distress and are concerned you may have risk factors for coronavirus, please call St. Luke's triage hotline at 208-381-9500. Clinic staff will be able to complete a risk assessment over the phone and provide guidance on next steps, which may include recommending care at home or arranging testing if needed. 

If you need to visit the emergency department to treat concerning symptoms, call ahead to your local facility and ask for a protective face mask when you arrive.  

What can I do to prevent getting sick from COVID-19? 

You are at a greater risk of getting seriously ill from the influenza virus than COVID-19. Get a flu shot if you haven’t already. 

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, use the same precautions you would for the flu and common cold. St. Luke’s recommends these infection-prevention practices:

  • If you’re sick, stay home. Call the St. Luke's hotline at 208-381-9500 if you suspect you have the virus and feel you need evaluation for symptoms. 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer. 
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve – not your hands – when coughing or sneezing. 
  • Clean your home, workspace, shared items and other frequented locations. 
  • Avoid unnecessary contact with sick individuals. 
  • 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 to others and healthcare personnel caring for symptomatic patients. 

Do we know how long the virus is living on surfaces? 

According to an updated study, this coronavirus (COVID-19) can remain active and viable for up to 2 to 3 days on inanimate surfaces, including stainless steel, plastics, cardboard (up to 24 hours), glass and copper. Frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces with most cleaners makes the virus inactivate within one minute.

Should I be wearing a mask? 

No. Health officials in the U.S. do not recommend the use of masks among the general public because risk of infection is low and limited to close contacts. It has also not been shown to effectively reduce risk of infection. Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of disease to others, and by healthcare personnel when evaluating and caring for individuals with symptoms.  

Overuse of masks by healthy individuals could reduce the much-needed supply for those who could be contagious. Instead, practice infection-prevention methods and avoid interactions with sick individuals.  

Should I get tested?  

Call the St. Luke's triage number at 208-381-9500. A member of our clinic staff will help determine whether you may need to be tested. Providers will work with the state and commercial labs to arrange testing. To manage demand, those with symptoms or who have had potential exposure will be considered high priority.  

Will I have to pay to be tested for coronavirus?  

Neither the State nor the CDC are billing for the COVID-19 testing. We anticipate that commercial labs will charge for this test, but do not have information at this time. 

How long will it take to get my test results? 

Due to national demand, results are typically available in 10 days. A positive test will result in a phone call and all results will be added to myChart. 

Should I go to the Emergency Department? 

If you develop symptoms of respiratory illness and are concerned you may have risk factors for COVID-19, please call St. Luke's triage hotline at 208-381-9500. Clinic staff will be able to complete a risk assessment over the phone and provide guidance on next steps, which may include arranging testing if needed. 

If you cannot manage your symptoms at home and need to visit the Emergency Department, call ahead to your local facility and ask for a protective face mask when you arrive.   

Providers should coordinate with their local Emergency Department or hospital if a patient has severe symptoms. 

What should I do if I have recently traveled and am sick?  

If you have traveled within the past 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough or are having difficulty breathing, you should call your primary care provider to complete a risk assessment over the phone. They will be able to provide guidance on next steps, if needed. While sick, avoid contact with people, stay home and delay any travel to reduce the possibility of spreading illness to others.   

Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?   

There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19 and the estimate is that it will be 9 to 12 months before there might be one. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19.   

Is there a treatment for COVID-19?  

There is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 can seek medical care to help relieve symptoms. Investigational trials are currently underway, and this could change in the future. 

Can people who recover from COVID-19 be infected again? 

The immune response to COVID-19 is not yet understood. Patients with COVID-19 are unlikely to be re-infected shortly after they recover, but it is not yet known if patients with COVID-19 become immune once they've contracted the virus. 

Is St. Luke's updating the media on any coronavirus information? 

Members of the public should obtain their information from local health departments and state entities through their online and telephone resources. St. Luke’s does not anticipate providing specifics regarding our experiences with COVID-19 patients. Doing so would only partially reflect the overall community or state experience. 

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates.

If we have a family member (children, elderly parents) we take care of daily who is showing symptoms should we self-quarantine and work from home for 14 days? 

Not unless the family member tests positive for COVID-19. You should monitor yourself for development of any symptoms and if they develop, you should contact the St. Luke's triage hotline at 208-381-9500 to complete a risk assessment screening. At this time, the 14-day isolation is only required after travel to a CDC high-risk area or exposure to a known or suspected COVID-19 patient. 

What should we do if we have a family member who is immuno-compromised? 

The advice is similar to our general recommendations including the practice of good hand hygiene, frequent cleaning of high-touch items and avoiding close contact with others if they notice symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath. Also, consider limiting exposures of yourself and these family members to large gatherings and public events. 

I was scheduled for a class through St. Luke’s, will it still take place or has it been canceled?

If you planned on attending a St. Luke’s birth, parenting, safety, car seat check, scheduled maternity tours, Moms Meet Up and Breastfeeding Bunch support groups in Treasure Valley and Magic Valley, those classes have been canceled through April 30, 2020 due to coronavirus (COVID-19) public health concerns. If you were signed up for classes during that time frame, you will receive an e-mail with online resources from our St. Luke’s team. If you have questions, please reach out to our offices: 208-381-1510 in Treasure Valley, 208-814-0407 in Magic Valley.