Message to Patients About the Coronavirus Outbreak

In response to the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak in Rhode Island, Brown Medicine is working closely with public health officials, and we are here to help you.

We need your help, too. We will be asking you about:

  • Symptoms you are experiencing of a respiratory illness such as fever, cough or shortness of breath.
  • Your travel history, and
  • Your contact with anyone who is known to have the Coronavirus or who may have become ill within 14 days of returning from an area that is considered high risk.

If you are experiencing symptoms, have traveled to a high-risk area, or have been in contact with a person diagnosed with a confirmed/unconfirmed case of Coronavirus, it is very important that you do not walk in without an appointment as we need to be prepared for your visit.

If you have been seen for a visit scheduled weeks or months ago, you need to notify us if you have any symptoms of a respiratory illness.  All patients who have a respiratory illness will be asked to wear a mask.

Patients that are at higher risk of Coronavirus exposure, based upon the questions above, will be asked to stay at home while we coordinate services with the RI Department of Health (or Massachusetts Department of Public Health if a Massachusetts resident). Severely ill patients will be directed to the hospital with coordination by the public health departments. Hospitals and emergency responders need to be alerted if you are at high risk due to Coronavirus exposure.

These extra steps are to reduce the spread of the virus and get you to the right place for care. We are following the guidance of the RI Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to make sure our offices remain safe for every patient.

We may suggest that some patients with respiratory illness do not need to be seen at all. Most respiratory illness does not have a specific treatment and most people are well enough to recover with rest and time. Our advice to you will be based on the updates we receive from the public health authorities and your symptoms. We are here to answer your questions and advise.

Help yourself by conducting frequent hand washing and cleaning surfaces in your home, at work, or even in your automobile. Help others by staying home from work, school or crowds if ill. Help us have more time to answer questions by using the patient portal for routine requests.

Stay informed. Please visit the CDC for reliable and up to date information at

There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
• Follow CDC’s recommendations for using face mask.
• CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear face mask to protect themselves from respiratory viruses, including 2019-nCoV.
• Face mask should be used by people who show symptoms of 2019 novel coronavirus, in order to protect others from the risk of getting infected. The use of face masks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
• If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC does have specific guidance for travelers.