FAQs & Additional Information

What You Need to Know

Essentia Health continues to monitor the novel coronavirus outbreak -- now known as COVID-19 -- which originated in December in China’s Wuhan City in the Hubei province. Declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization March 11, it has spread to multiple countries, including the U.S. COVID-19 symptoms are similar to influenza and other respiratory illnesses and include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

“Most people with COVID-19 can recover at home,” said Dr. Rajesh Prabhu, an infectious disease physician at Essentia Health. “They won’t require hospitalization or even medical care. But we are prepared for those who do require a higher level of care.”

The circumstances of this global outbreak change every day. Essentia Health hospitals and caregivers are trained to manage emerging infectious diseases, such as COVID-19, with a high level of care and compassion.

Prevention Is Key

“It's important to follow basic preventative measures," says Kari Russell, Essentia's Infection Prevention manager. “Practice good hand hygiene and cover your cough or sneeze. You also should stay home if you're feeling sick."

Up-To-Date Information

Get the latest COVID-19 info from:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is COVID-19?

The virus that causes the COVID-19 disease is a novel (new) coronavirus first detected in Wuhan, China.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. This new coronavirus was initially linked to a large seafood and live animal market in Wuhan. From there, the virus has spread person-to-person and via “community spread,” which indicates unknown exposure. Illnesses range from mild to severe, including illness resulting in death. Most COVID-19 illness is mild.

The outbreak was declared “a public health emergency of international concern” by the World Health Organization Jan. 30.

What are COVID-19 symptoms?

People with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Some patients have had other symptoms including chills, muscle aches, headache, sore throat, diarrhea, nasal congestion, nausea/vomiting, or loss of taste or smell. These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.

How does it spread?

The virus is thought to spread mostly from person-to-person within six feet, either between people who are in close contact with one another or through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. People are thought to be most contagious when they are the sickest.

How should you protect yourself?

Wash your hands often, and for at least 20 seconds at a time. Hand sanitizer works, too. Avoid contact with those who are sick; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; stay home when you are sick; cover your cough and sneezes with a tissue and then discard the tissue and regularly clean and disinfect high-touch areas. Wear a mask when you are around people from outside of your household, or in a public place.

Do you need a mask?

Essentia has implemented universal masking in all of our facilities. Patients, visitors, and staff need to wear a mask at all times inside any of our facilities.

We ask that you please come with your own cloth mask. If you don't have your own, we will provide one.

The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies).

What should you do if you think you might have COVID-19?

If you develop symptoms and have been in close contact (within six feet) with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of the virus, you should start an E-visit to be screened.

Older patients and those with severe underlying medical conditions or are immunocompromised should contact their provider early, even if their illness is mild. If you have severe symptoms, such as persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, or bluish lips or face, seek care immediately.

What should you do if you are sick with COVID-19 or suspect you are?

  • Stay home if you are ill, except for medical care. Do not go to work, school or public areas.
  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home. Use a separate bathroom, if possible.
  • Call ahead before visiting your health care provider
  • Wear a face mask around others
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes, wash hands often
  • Clean high-touch surfaces daily

Will warm weather stop the outbreak of COVID-19?

It is not yet known whether weather and temperature impact the spread of COVID-19.

Should you refrain from travel?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises against non-essential travel to areas with widespread ongoing transmission. Older adults or those with chronic medical conditions should consider postponing all nonessential travel.

See the CDC's recommendations on travel.

What if you see a positive coronavirus test among your viral respiratory panel results?

If your health care provider orders viral respiratory testing for you and your MyHealth results show a positive test for a coronavirus, it is not the new coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 disease. Essentia Health laboratories do not currently test for the new coronavirus. A positive test represents the typical coronavirus that circulates at this time of year.

Who can I talk to about other COVID-19 questions?

Contact your state department of health if you have additional questions or concerns.

  • Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Hotline: 651-201-3920
  • North Dakota Department of Health COVID-19 Hotline: 866-207-2880
  • Wisconsin Department of Health Services: 800-947-3529

How much does it cost to get tested for COVID-19?

The diagnostic lab test costs $160. This amount doesn’t reflect what your health insurance might be charged or your out-of-pocket costs. Essentia Health is not currently collecting co-pays for this test. This information is subject to change and does not reflect additional charges that you could incur at the time of service.

Under the Cares Act, health insurers and employers must reimburse for all COVID-19 testing based on the price you see listed here unless they have already negotiated a rate or negotiate a new rate. Please contact your insurance company about your out-of-pocket expenses.

How much does an antibody test for COVID-19 cost?

The antibody lab test costs $60. This amount doesn’t reflect what your health insurance might be charged or your out-of-pocket expenses. This information is subject to change and does not reflect additional charges that you could incur at the time of service.

The antibody test is not used to diagnose a current infection with the COVID-19 virus but helps determine if you have had a previous infection.

Under the Cares Act, health insurers and employers must reimburse for all COVID-19 testing based on the price you see listed here unless they have already negotiated a rate or negotiate a new rate. Please contact your insurance company about your out-of-pocket expenses.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention