Know the Facts about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

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COVID-19 Toolkit

With increased prevalence of COVID-19 in the U.S. and now New York State, Rochester Regional Health is taking measures to ensure the safety of our patients, our team members and our community.

In collaboration with the Monroe County Health Department and the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH), we are now focused on mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Our health system is playing an active role in doing this and in testing and treating patients with COVID-19. 

This Toolkit is designed to provide you with the most up-to-date information and latest tools available to assist you and your teams. Please contact the Infection Prevention Team if you have any questions.

Helpful Tools & Resources


Employee Hotline: (585) 454-8202

The Latest

Updates from the Infection Prevention and Command Center Teams

Last Updated: Wednesday, April 8, 2020 at 8:00am

PPE & Masks

Through the generosity of our friends at Century Mold, Rochester Regional Health is now able to provide a durable, reusable face shield to all providers and employees working in patient-facing areas, including long term care and home care. We are days into the distribution of the reusable face shields, which are being centrally distributed by site to all RRH team members. So far several thousand healthcare workers have received them and the remainder will be delivered in the coming days.   

Face Shield Purpose and Use Guidelines:

The Universal Masking Policy applies to employees working in buildings or areas where clinical care is provided or when walking through common areas in those same buildings.As part of this policy, visitors, per the visitor policy, will be masked at the door.

  • Employees working in private, individual offices or in non-clinical settings where individuals are reliably separated by more than 6 feet, do not need to wear the mask in those settings. When walking through common areas in buildings where care is delivered, however, the mask policy applies.
  • Types of Masks: 
    • Surgical, ear loop and any manufactured face masks: for all patient face to face encounters that do not involve aerosol-generating procedures
    • N95s:for aerosol-generating procedures for persons under investigation and COVID(+) patients.

A limited supply of respirators (N95s) and face masks requires a multimodal approach to protect our patients and our workforce

  • Extended reuse– extending the wear of masks for up to seven days in emergency/critical situations as we are in now. Replace masks when soiled (see respirator reuse guidelines). Store mask safely in its own paper bag.
  • Safe reprocessing procedures for N95s have been developed. This is now in place for operating rooms and will be expanded to other areas.
  • Workflow/administrative controls– social distancing to every extent possible for peer and patient interactions.

NEW: Employee Health Services Weekend Hours on Employee COVID-19 Hotline

Employees who need to connect with Employee Health Services (EHS) regarding clearance for returning to work will now be able to speak with an EHS professional on the weekends! EHS will be available via the Employee COVID-19 hotline between the hours of 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. on both Saturdays and Sundays.

  • EHS is prompt #2 on the hotline.
  • The new WEEKEND hours, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., are effective beginning tomorrow, Saturday, April 4
  • All employee messages left after hours will be returned the next day.


Leaders, please follow the instructions below regarding Excused with Pay vs Emergency Management Leave (EML) for employees awaiting redeployment.

  • Employees who have been submitted through the redeployment tool and are awaiting redeployment should be paid “Excused with Pay”.
  • EML should only be used if/when the redeployment team is not able to redeploy the employee and communicates to the leader that the employee should be placed on EML.

Please reference the updated RRH Absences and Time Off Guidance available on the toolkit (located under HR Updates). If there are any questions, please contact HR at [email protected]


Did you know that scrubs and linens exposed to COVID-19 do not automatically need to go in the trash? RRH’s strict adherence to proven, effective wash practices and infection prevention measures will continue to ensure the quality of linens. Linens and scrubs that may have been exposed to COVID-19 should be placed in a standard soil bag – not a red bag.

Behavioral Health Updates

The COVID-19 pandemic is stressful on many levels. The Behavioral Health Network (BHN) at Rochester Regional Health is ready to assist patients and members of the community who are struggling during this crisis and beyond. BHN is continuing to offer comprehensive mental health and chemical dependency services to new and existing patients. 

Newark-Wayne Activates Surge Plan

Effective tomorrow at 9 a.m., Newark-Wayne Community Hospital will activate its Emergency Department Surge Plan. While ED volumes remain manageable at this time, the early activation of the ED Surge Triage Area will help Newark-Wayne optimize workflow in anticipation of growing volume and community need related to COVID-19.

The ED Surge Triage Area is in the parking lot near the Emergency Department and will be operational Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. The Emergency Department will remain open 24/7 for patients of all needs and conditions.

Empty Hand Sanitizer Bottles Needed

RRH’s Materials Management is asking employees to save empty hand sanitizer bottles and drop them off at central stores in all hospitals. Materials Management will disinfect the bottles and fill them back up with sanitizer from Black Button Distillery for our teams.

Surge Plans

Rochester Regional Health stands ready in the event of widespread COVID-19 cases in our community. Earlier today, RRH discussed system-wide surge plans as part of a joint news conference with Monroe County Executive Adam Bello and the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Community-wide surge plans will be implemented in phases as conditions warrant. Each phase is based on assessment of daily volumes. In addition, our hospitals have been working together to designate COVID-19 isolation units at each location. System-wide standardization of care protocols have been developed to ensure that, regardless of where COVID-19 patients are admitted, the care will be consistent and evidence-based.

  • Phase 1: Cancellation of elective surgeries and non-urgent appointments
  • Phase 2: Use patient areas not typically utilized for ongoing care
  • Phase 3: Mobilize teams to non-traditional health care spaces to meet capacity and demand
  • Phase 4: Monroe County Field Hospital

Self-monitoring Safeguards for Employees

The health and safety of our RRH employees has never been of greater importance. Consistent with CDC recommendations, we are asking all employees to follow self-monitoring practices. Self-monitoring is an important safeguard for all of us as no one is immune to this disease.

Self-monitoring Protocols

  • Employees who are experiencing any of the following symptoms should stay home from work, inform their leader and call the COVID-19 Employee Hotline at (585) 454-8202:
    • A temperature of 100 or above
    • A cough

    • Shortness of breath

  • All RRH employees (even those without symptoms) are strongly encouraged to adopt self-monitoring habits, including temperature checks especially before starting a shift.

  • Clinical staff is reminded to follow RRH policies for isolation precautions for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

  • All employees need to continue practicing social distancing.

  • If you can work remotely from home, please do so safely.

  • All employees should make hand hygiene a priority for you and your family. (Wash with soap and water for 20 seconds or use enough alcohol hand rub to cover the entire surface of your hands)

If you have specific needs or questions regarding Infection Prevention, please reach out to your IP representative.

Performance Appraisals

Due date for Performance Appraisals (PAs) will be postponed until further notice.

A Salute to Our Health Care Heroes

This special thank you is airing now on local TV stations and also CNN, Fox News and MSNBC.


Rochester Regional Health has expanded telemedicine services to enable our patients to receive safe medical care while adhering to social distancing practices. RRH is offering three virtual visit methods to connect with and care for patients:

  • Care Now Video Visits (part of MyCare)
  • Skype and/or FaceTime Visits

In the first 24 hours, RRH providers have seen 185 patients through MyCare video visits and 139 patients through FaceTime and Skype.

For video/virtual visit procedures and workflows, please visit the CareConnect Toolkit. For offices not set-up with Care Now Video Visit, and/or individuals who cannot access Skype or FaceTime, providers are conducting phone visits. Patient preferences are always taken into consideration. Patients are encouraged to call their office and staff will determine the best method for all parties.

Entrance Restrictions and Visitor Screenings

  • System-wide hospital and facility entrances will be reduced to designated entry doors until further notice.
  • Limited visitation will be allowed for the following patients only: 
    • Pediatric patients may have one designated guardian on site at a time.
    • End-of-life patients may have one on-site visitor at a time.
    • Obstetrical patients may have one on-site visitor at a time.
    • Note: For Obstetrical and Pediatric patients, the one designated person (visitor) can leave the building and come back but if they do they have to get their temperature checked every 12 hours and be screened at the door each time they come back
  • SKILLED NURSING FACILITIES: No visitors will be permitted to visit our skilled nursing facilities until further notice.
  • VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS: All RRH volunteer programs are placed on hold until further notice. 

Lab Testing & Results


We share your concern for the well-being of all patients and team members and are eager to get test results quickly. ALL RRH LAB personnel are working tirelessly around the clock and we cannot ask them to pause their work to respond to individual requests for status reports.

Hospital & ED Patients (+ currently Dialysis & LTC on a case-by-case basis)

At this time, only inpatient hospital, ED patient, dialysis and LTC patients are able to be tested in-house at RRH. As volume of testing increases, some of these may be sent to a reference lab. Samples received by 9:00 a.m. will be run in the morning, depending on capacity. Samples received by 2:00 p.m. will be run in the afternoon, depending on capacity. Results are reported immediately in CareConnect and relayed to the Nurse Call Team who contacts all patients, including those who test negative. Results from the morning test run are generally posted between 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. daily. Results from the afternoon run are generally posted between 7:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. daily.

Ambulatory Samples (including healthcare workers)

All ambulatory tests are sent out to reference laboratories. The most efficient labs are being engaged. Testing cannot be "expedited". All COVID-19 testing is considered urgent.

Drive-Thru Evaluation Sites

RRH is expanding our drive-thru evaluation sites, which provide an extension of Primary Care and Urgent Care in a manner that allows for social distancing. These evaluation sites are not dedicated to COVID-19 testing but include this service as well as general evaluation for medical issues.  

New Locations:

  • Unity Hospital: 9am - 9pm
  • Clifton Springs: 9am - 5pm
  • United Memorial Medical Center: 9am - 5pm
  • Wilson: 9am - 9pm (9am - 8pm on weekends)

Flu Vaccination Reminder

It’s not too late—we strongly encourage employees, if medically able, to get a flu shot and preserve our critical mask supply for frontline caregivers who are caring for patients under droplet precautions. Thank you to the many team members who have answered the call to get a flu shot over the past couple of weeks, helping our supply chain team manage our mask supplies.

Please consider getting the flu vaccine at one of our Employee Health Services offices. It’s free and it only takes a few minutes. No appointment needed.

Information Security Reminder

RRH’s IS&T team is reminding all employees that email is not a secure way to transmit protected health information (PHI) to external parties. If emailing PHI is required, important precautions must be followed to preserve confidentiality:

  • Employees must encrypt the email to keep it confidential. To encrypt an email: Rochester Regional Health: Type the word, confidential, anywhere in the subject line. ACM Global Laboratories: Type [email protected] in the Cc line. United Memorial Medical Center: Type [secure] or [Secure] in the subject line.
  • Do not put any PHI in the subject line.
  • Double check the recipient’s email address before sending.

With the exception of patient-authorized written requests handled by HIM, employees must NOT send PHI to web-mail services (e.g. Gmail, Yahoo, iCloud).

In-House Testing Criteria

When to test: Currently there is no treatment for COVID-19. Patients should be instructed to isolate at home to prevent further transmission, unless symptoms require hospitalization.

  • Testing resources are extremely limited and are prioritized for those whom a COVID-19 result will impact their care management, such as hospitalized, critically ill and long-term care patients.
  • Testing symptomatic healthcare workers is important in preserving our ability to provide care to patients.
  • If patient has no or mild symptoms, testing is not indicated. Please do not refer patients for testing. Please send the patient home with instructions for isolation.
  • If the patient has moderate symptoms and can safely remain at home, and does not require emergency level care or hospitalization, testing is not indicated. Patient should be sent home based on clinical assessment and instructions to self-monitor symptoms.

Who to test: We must all work together to conserve limited sample collection supplies and testing capability to ensure that we are able to provide testing for our sickest and most vulnerable patients.

  • Patients hospitalized or being hospitalized with severe lower respiratory illness.
  • Symptomatic healthcare workers.
  • Symptomatic first responders in public safety occupations (e.g., law enforcement, firefighter, EMS).
  • Symptomatic patients involved in an illness cluster in a facility or institution (hospitals, nursing homes etc.).
  • Symptomatic pregnant women and other immunocompromised patients.

Hiring Process and New Employee Orientation

We are still hiring. On-site interviews are prohibited; moving forward ALL interviews will be conducted via phone or video conference with Skype for Business. New Employee Orientation (NEO) will take place via condensed webinar sessions.

Scribe Service

During this public health concern, providers will no longer be able to utilize the services of Scribe America, as the organization and RRH have agreed that to reduce foot traffic onto our campuses, we will refrain from using scribes until further notice.

Closings and Cancellations 

All walk-in evaluations are temporarily cancelled at all RRH mental health and chemical dependency clinics. Individuals seeking immediate access to outpatient clinic services should call the Behavioral Health Access & Crisis Center at (585) 368-3950.All non-urgent behavioral appointments will be rescheduled.

View all Rochester Regional Health closings and cancellations during the COVID-19 outbreak.

What You Need to Know About Exposure Risk

  • If an individual is exposed to COVID-19, it doesn’t mean they will automatically become sick or test positive.
  • Being in the same environment while maintaining social distancing ( 6 feet apart) poses minimal risk.
  • Wearing proper personal protective equipment while caring for a patient is considered a low-risk exposure.
  • High exposure risk is defined as having contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case without wearing proper PPE (such as mask).
  • If you feel you have been exposed to COVID-19 either at home or work, call the Employee Hotline.
  • Occupational Health will assess your risk of exposure and advise you on how to self-monitor for fever and symptoms while continuing to work safely.
  • If you become sick, stay home. Call the Employee Hotline to report any symptoms and learn when to return to work safely.
  • RRH follows NYSDOH and local Health Department regulations regarding COVID-19 and healthcare worker exposures.  Follow any instructions offered by the local Health Department, and contact Employee Health to confirm information.

What You Can Do to Help

We’re asking every employee to help by:
Staying up-to-date on flu and pneumonia vaccinations
Covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing
Washing your hands frequently with soapy water
Staying home and calling a provider if you experience any COVID-19 symptoms
Employees and other RRH individuals who travel to areas with concern for COVID-19 should seek clearance from Employee Health Services prior to returning to work. A new hotline is being established for employees who need clearance.

This Week's News Coverage Highlights: March 30 - April 5

View a list of all Rochester Regional Health coverage for the past week: DOWNLOAD March 30 - April 5 Coverage Report.

Donors pitch in with meals for Rochester hospital workers

Rochester Business Journal

Highlights of the food donated to our teams by the community.

Read Now

Community supports Rochester business launched during pandemic

Spectrum Local News

An RGH employee discusses opening a small business and caring for the community.

Read Now

CDC recommends Americans wear face masks in public

Spectrum Local News

Comment from Dr. Emil Lesho on the value of wearing a cloth mask when social distancing becomes difficult.

Read Now

Self-Care & Mindfulness

Tips and helpful reminders to de-stress and stay centered during this uncertain time.

Treating dry skin

Tips From Experts

Dry skin and cracked hands are more common during the COVID-19 outbreak because of more hand washing and hand sanitizing. Here are some tips to soothe your dry, cracked hands.

Read Now

Four-minute breathing exercise

Sara Lane Series

Breathe in; breathe out…follow along with Sarah Lane from the Riedman Wellness Center as she demonstrates “Square Breathing,” a relaxation technique to help shift your energy and calm your mind.

Watch Now

Yoga class for the kiddos

Sara Lane Series

Move some furniture out of the way (if needed) for this kid-inspired yoga class with Sarah Lane from the Riedman Wellness Center. Children should be on a soft surface like a carpet or mat. Adults, please feel free to join in!

Watch Now

The Riedman Wellness Center team is challenging employees to commit to 100 minutes of movement each week through May 3!

How to participate: It’s simple, just email the Wellness Center that you want to join the challenge, log the amount of time that you are physically active each day and report weekly to the Wellness Center.

Meet Our COVID-19 Task Force

A system-wide task force has been in operation for several months and meets daily to execute COVID-19 preparedness and management.

Led by Dr. Robert Mayo, Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Hiloni Bhavsar, Chief Quality Officer, and Melissa Bronstein, Infection Preventionist this task force involves a wide range of clinicians, experts and leaders from across the system. This task force is in addition to our long-standing infectious disease steering committees and workgroups that prepare and plan to ensure readiness on an ongoing basis.

rob mayo

Robert Mayo, MD

Chief Medical Officer

Melissa Bronstein

Infection Preventionist

Hiloni Bhavsar

Hiloni Bhavsar, MD

Chief Quality Officer

COVID-19 Preparation & FAQs

Learn how Rochester Regional Health providers are helping educate the public about COVID-19.
How is Rochester Regional Health Preparing?
Learn how our teams are working to prepare to diagnose and treat patients with COVID-19
How Can I Avoid Coronavirus?
Learn about the steps you can take to protect yourself and your family.
Who is Most at Risk?
Learn about risk factors for COVID-19 and the populations most at risk.
Should I Wear a Facemask?
Learn whether wearing a facemask will protect you from contracting coronavirus.
Should I Reconsider Travel Plans?
We recommend checking the CDC website regularly for areas of concern.
Should I Be Concerned If I'm Pregnant?
Learn about special concerns for pregnant women and newborns.