By Bobbie Gostout, M.D., President, Mayo Clinic Health System

You’re likely hearing about many of the public health concerns due to the outbreak of coronavirus disease or COVID-19. It’s a newly identified respiratory virus that can spread easily. It shares several symptoms with influenza, but it’s treated differently. COVID-19 infection may appear two to 14 days after exposure and can include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

Mayo Clinic Health System is working diligently to ensure you receive the level of care that you’ve come to expect from your health care teams — whether for COVID-19 or other concerns. We’re here for you and your family to help keep you healthy, safe and informed.

We know that such a quickly changing situation can feel worrisome, especially as you think about your family and loved ones. Staying informed is one way to harness some of that worry.

Mayo Clinic Health System’s COVID-19 community and patient resource webpage, found at, provides the most current guidance on getting care locally during the pandemic response as well as information about the virus itself. It is regularly updated to help ensure that you have the most current information.

We are also taking the following precautionary measures so that our clinics and hospitals can be in the best position to care for those patients who need us most.

Call firstIf you show any sign of possible COVID-19 symptoms, please do not come into a clinic to be tested; please call your local health care provider first. That will help us prepare for your visit. Of course, for any medical emergencies always call 911 so you can get the immediate attention you require.

Elective appointments, surgeries deferredSome patients are being asked to reschedule their appointments, procedures or surgeries or be open to a nontraditional way of getting care through a telephone or video visit.

If you have an appointment that can be moved to a phone or video visit or deferred, you will receive a phone call from your health care team to discuss your options. We will do our best to accommodate your needs in collaboration with your provider’s schedule.

Visitor restrictionsIn order to protect all of our patients and staff, we are restricting visitors in the clinic and hospital while there is a threat of COVID-19 transmission. We know that this change is especially difficult and may be inconvenient for you and your loved ones. Thank you for your understanding, flexibility and patience.

While this is a challenging time for all of us, it is my hope that you feel confident that you have access locally to the best care teams in the world — all here and ready to care for you and your loved ones. Together, we will see our way through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Follow Brian Arola @BrianArola

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