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April 1, 2020

Coronavirus: Information and Updates

April 1, 2020

Access Daily COVID-19 Metrics



APRIL 1, 2020

As part of its mission to provide the community with personalized, compassionate and personalized care and to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cooley Dickinson Health Care has opened a COVD-19community call center. “We want our community to know that we are here for them and doing all we can to provide them with links to medical resources and credible, trusted information,” says Cooley Dickinson President and CEO Joanne Marqusee.

The COVID-19 call center is staffed Monday -Friday from 8 am to 6:30 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 8 am – 5 pm by health care workers who can field general questions about COVID-19. Those types of inquiries include how and where to donate medical-grade supplies;how to access a primary care provider, if someone doesn’t have one; and where to seek care for something other than a respiratory illness, such as urgent care. Online resources are also available from the Cooley Dickinson website.

Contact the COVID-19 Call Center, Monday –Friday, 8 am to 6:30 pm; Saturday & Sunday, 8 am to 5 pm at 1-888-554-4234. The call center is not a substitute for medical advice from your provider. Anyone who thinks they have COVID-19 and is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should call their primary care provider to report their symptoms. Once screened by a medical provider, that provider will advise if testing is needed and will explain how to obtain that testing. The call center can advise those who do not have a primary care provider and Cooley Dickinson has many providers accepting new patients. Testing continues to be limited. Cooley Dickinson is following strict testing criteria so that it tests those for whom testing will make the most clinical difference.


MARCH 27, 2020

In order to conserve masks for patients with respiratory symptoms and health care workers caring for patients with COVID-19, we are not giving masks to patients who do not have symptoms; visitors or delivery people.

You will be safe walking through the hospital without a surgical mask as we have excellent air quality. Any health care workers you encounter will be masked per our universal mask use policy, which helps to prevent the spread of infection.

Please clean your hands often at the hand sanitizer stations located throughout the hospital.

Thank you for understanding.


MARCH 18, 2020

As expected, given the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), Cooley Dickinson has seen an increase in people with respiratory symptoms and increased COVID-19 testing over the past several days. “Our infection control and emergency preparedness teams have been preparing for this possibility since we first learned of the outbreak in China.” Said Cooley Dickinson Chief Executive Officer Joanne Marqusee, “We are so proud of our staff for all they have been doing to prepare and to protect the health of our patients and community. We work around the clock and will continue to do so.”

We were notified by the Mass Department of Public Health that two patients tested at Cooley Dickinson Hospital have tested positive for novel Coronavirus COVID-19. We have coordinated closely with the Department of Public of Health and are following all Mass DPH and Centers for Disease Control guidelines and protocols. For the care of these patients, we followed all isolation and PPE protocols.

We would like to remind the public that testing is still quite limited so strict criteria are being used to determine who gets testing. With or without a test, people with mild symptoms should stay home. If they are concerned about whether they need to be seen by a provider, they should call their primary care physician.

UPDATE 3-17-2020: Visitor Restrictions

New Visitor Restrictions

We take the health and safety of our patients, visitors and community members seriously. Given the ever-changing nature of the coronavirus (COVID-19), we are changing our visitor guidelines and restricting visitors.

Visit the CDC and Mass Department of Public Health websites for the most up-to-date information.

COVID-19 Testing

Currently we must still use CDC criteria and call DPH for testing requests. We expect a commercial test to be available, but that appears to still be several weeks away.

How is Cooley Dickinson preparing for a possible outbreak of coronavirus?

There are a number of proactive preparedness efforts underway at Cooley Dickinson. Specifically:

  • Leadership teams at Cooley Dickinson and our infection control department are in constant contact and coordinating our preparedness with our parent, Massachusetts General Hospital, and sister hospitals within the Partners HealthCare network; local and state health departments, as well as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
  • We are already screening patients to identify high-risk travel.
  • We are coordinating with the Mass Department of Public Health to have testing, for select cases, performed by the state laboratory.
  • A multi-disciplinary team is collaborating to ensure Cooley Dickinson is ready to respond, if there is a need to test or provide care for patients with possible COVID-19.
  • For staff that have international travel plans or that may be returning from travel, Cooley Dickinson is following Partners extensive and current travel policy and coordinating with our colleagues at Partners.
  • Remember that good hand hygiene is always important; it is the key to protect ourselves, as well as patients, families and caregivers. For the most up-to-date information, visit the Mass DPH website and CDC website.

What is the difference between coronavirus and viruses that cause the common cold?

There are many types of human coronavirus, including some that cause mild to moderate upper respiratory tract illnesses.

Most people get infected with one or more of these common coronaviruses at some point in their lives. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is NOT the same as these common coronaviruses. COVID-19 is a new coronavirus from an animal reservoir that had not been previously identified. Patients with COVID-19 will be evaluated and cared for differently than patients with common coronavirus diagnosis.

Tests that we use at Cooley Dickinson facilities do not detect COVID-19. Testing to detect this virus is only performed through the Department of Public Health.

What should I do if I have cold symptoms or a mild cough? Do I need testing for coronavirus?

If you have only cold symptoms or a low grade fever, call your provider. Do not go to the Emergency Department and do not go to your provider’s office or a walk-in urgent care clinic.

At Cooley Dickinson, we have a triage call system in place that will address each person’s unique situation. Once we have your information, and if it meets the screening criteria, your provider will reach out to the Mass Department of Public Health (DPH) for guidance  and  possible testing. But there is a shortage of test kits so currently DPH will test only those with the highest risk.

If you are sick enough to see a health care provider, call your provider’s office before going to their office. If you have been in close contact with someone who has laboratory-proven coronavirus, call before going to the provider’s office.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

What should community members do to stay safe?

Although the risk to Massachusetts residents of the novel coronavirus remains low, the risk for influenza is currently high. Many of the things you do to help prevent colds and the flu can help protect you against other respiratory viruses:

Should I wear a mask when I go out in public?

Public health officials believe that the cloth masks do little to protect against coronavirus and can give people a false sense of security. The best protection against coronavirus is to wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Alcohol gel is also an option.

Many patients who present to Cooley Dickinson facilities with respiratory symptoms are evaluated for viral infections using nasal swab testing capable of detecting 20 different pathogens.

The results may include one of several types of coronavirus that commonly cause respiratory infections in the United States. Note, that there are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses (229E, NL63, OC43, or HKU1).

Most people get infected with one or more of these common coronaviruses at some point in their lives. To be clear, the virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is NOT the same as these common coronaviruses. COVID-19 is a NEW coronavirus from an animal reservoir that had not been previously identified. Patients with COVID-19 will be evaluated and cared for differently than patients with common coronavirus diagnosis.

Tests that we use at Cooley Dickinson facilities DO NOT detect COVID-19. Testing to detect this virus is only performed at the CDC through the Departments of Public Health.

Masks can be useful in some settings, such as a clinic waiting room, to prevent someone who has a respiratory illness from spreading it to others. There is no hard evidence that wearing a mask protects the wearer outside of the health care setting.

When it is appropriate to wear a mask in public: if you are sick and need to go out. Masks are appropriate in waiting rooms, if you need to wait for an extended period, or if you are caring for someone who is sick.

Helpful Links

FAQ: Coronavirus and Children

CDC Public Health Response Update 2-28-2020

Massachusetts DPH COVID-19 Information Page

Questions? Contact

Medical Records Patient Walk-in Services

In an effort to minimize COVID-19 spread we will be suspending Patient Walk-in services until further notice. To request a copy of your medical records:

  • Submit a request via Patient Gateway. Once you access Patient Gateway, go to
  • Health > Health Tools > Request Records or
  • Messaging > Request Records
  • Please go to to get a copy of an ROI Authorization Form and follow instructions, How to Submit a Request.

For fastest service, please provide an email address in your request to deliver the copies via secure email or indicate delivery to your Patient Gateway account. 

For any additional questions, including how to submit an urgent request, please call the HIM ROI unit at 617-726-2361

14 thoughts on “Coronavirus: Information and Updates

  1. Thank you for all the CDH staff are doing to care for our community during a very stressful time. I deeply appreciate the dedication of the front line staff and the administrators who support them.

    1. Thank you Patricia – Yes, our clinical staff are working under stressful conditions. Your thanks will be much appreciated.

      -Tom Sturm
      Digitial Media Coordinator

  2. I see that other hospitals are asking local seamstresses to make cloth masks. While admittedly not ideal for front line workers, they have been seen as something that those away from the front lines could utilize to save supplies. Do you have a need for these at this time, and how would an anticipated need be communicated to our community? If such a need were anticipated, it would be lovely to know quite ahead of time what your design guidelines would be for the creation of these.

  3. Is the hospital accepting / in need of donations of equipment, such as (sealed) N95 or N100 masks and/or isopropyl alcohol prep pads?

    1. Hi Rosa,

      At this time we are not taking any volunteers. If you would like to read about volunteering for Cooley Dickinson at a future time when things are running more typically, you can visit the Volunteer page and read about it here:

      You can also probably get in touch with volunteer coordinators whose information is available through that page and learn more.

      Thank you for asking!

      Tom Sturm
      Digital Media Coordinator
      Cooley Dickinson Health Care

  4. If someone gets sick in a 3 person shared house that has only one bathroom what do you advise.
    We talked about cooking for the person, using paper plates, leaving food at their door for a 14 day duration.
    Couldn’t think of option for a shared bathroom.

  5. Now that testing is available, please test your staff! Asymptotic carriers need to be identified to reduce spread.
    Thank you.

    1. Thank you for writing Nancy,

      Our #1 concern is keeping our health care workers healthy and safe, and we have prioritized testing for them.

      Be well,

      Tom Sturm
      Digital Media Coordinator
      Cooley Dickinson Health Care

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