COVID-19 Updates from Wake Forest Baptist


Family Presence and Visitor Access Update

Friday, June 5, 2020 | 5:38 pm

On Tuesday, June 9, Wake Forest Baptist Health gradually began easing family presence and visitor precautions implemented due to COVID-19. The updated precautions below apply to all Wake Forest Baptist locations.

  • To ensure the safety of our patients and health care workers, please do not accompany patients casually or come to our medical facilities for casual visits. We need to continue limiting the number of people in waiting areas as much as possible.
  • Family members and visitors still may not visit patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 or are patients under investigation (PUI) for COVID-19.
  • All family members and visitors are required to wear a mask that properly covers the nose, mouth and chin while in any Wake Forest Baptist facility.

Adult Patients

  • One adult/support person free from illness – fever, cough, cold or stomach virus symptoms – may accompany adult patients. This includes adult patients who are hospitalized, undergoing same-day procedures, or being seen in one of our emergency departments or outpatient clinics.
  • Inpatient visiting hours are 6 am - 8 pm with a maximum of four hours of visitation time per patient per day.

Pediatric Patients

  • Two parents/guardians free from illness – fever, cough, cold or stomach virus symptoms – may accompany pediatric patients. This includes pediatric patients who are hospitalized, undergoing same-day procedures, or visiting the Brenner Children’s ED or outpatient clinics.
  • Healthy adult parents or guardians may stay overnight with children who are hospitalized

At The Birth Center at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and other labor and delivery units throughout the health system, one support person may remain with an expectant mother throughout her stay.

In addition:

  • Children, including siblings of patients, may not visit at this time. 
  • Access remains limited to certain entrances at each hospital within the Wake Forest Baptist Health system. Signage directs visitors to the appropriate entrances.
  • All visitors undergo screening for fever, cough or other symptoms of respiratory illness.
  • While visitor restrictions are in place, emotional support animals are not allowed. Service animals are always welcome.

Families with special situations should contact their care team and attending physician.

Learn more

Additional Measures to Keep Patients and Staff Safe as More Surgeries, Procedures and Clinic Visits Resume

Tuesday, May 19, 2020 | 2:02 pm 

As Wake Forest Baptist Health increases the number of surgeries, procedures and outpatient clinic visits across the entire health system, patients will notice some changes designed to keep them and health care staff safe.

Surgeons and surgical staff have been working extra hours over the past couple of weeks to meet the increased demand for non-essential surgeries and procedures that were temporarily halted in March. Many outpatient clinics are now resuming in-person visits, while still offering telephone, virtual and e-visits. 

Some of the changes patients will notice include:

  • Implementing social distancing in all clinic locations and elevators
  • Installing clear dividers when social distancing is not possible
  • Minimizing wait times in common areas, such as waiting rooms
  • Asking patients to join all providers and staff in wearing masks
  • Conducting screening for COVID-19 symptoms upon arrival
  • Providing COVID-19 testing for all patients before undergoing surgery

Learn more

Brenner Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Emergency Department Moves Back to Original Location

Friday, May 1, 2020 | 4:39 pm

Brenner Children’s Hospital’s pediatric emergency department has moved back to its original location at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

Last month, the pediatric emergency department was temporarily moved to make room for an adult Comprehensive Acute Respiratory Evaluation (CARE) unit. The CARE unit is now located closer to the adult emergency department. Learn more

Surgeries, Procedures to Resume on a Limited Basis

Friday, April 24, 2020 | 12:42 pm

On March 18, Wake Forest Baptist Health, along with Atrium Health and Novant Health, announced a coordinated plan to reschedule non-essential surgeries, procedures and ambulatory appointments. We have been working with these health systems and with state health officials on a responsible timeline for resuming these services over time.

We feel a coordinated approach benefits our patients and staff and ensures an adequate supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep patients and staff safe.  

We have begun to evaluate specific patients as candidates to move forward.

In early May, we plan to start resuming some of the surgeries and procedures that have been delayed, starting with those patients whose needs are the most urgent.

Additional Visitor Restrictions Implemented for Outpatient Clinics

Monday, March 30, 2020 | 2:16 pm

To help protect patients, family members and health care workers from the spread of COVID-19, effective Tuesday, March 31, no visitors will be allowed in any Wake Forest Baptist Health ambulatory clinic or outpatient ancillary service area with the following exceptions:

  • Patients who are minors may be accompanied by 1 healthy family member/guardian. 
  • Patients who need help with communication, decision-making or mobility may be accompanied by one 1 healthy support person.
  • Patients undergoing sedation or invasive procedures may be accompanied by 1 healthy support person.

As previously announced, no visitors are allowed at any of Wake Forest Baptist Health’s inpatient facilities except in certain situations. In critical care areas, no visitors are allowed unless end of life is expected within 48 hours. 

Families with special situations in either the outpatient or inpatient setting should contact their care team and attending physician.

Emergency Department Assessment Tents

Saturday, March 28, 2020 | 2:34 pm

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, along with other hospitals in our health system, is setting up assessment tents outside many of our emergency departments. We are taking this step to adjust our patient care in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

These tents would not be used as COVID-19 testing sites, but rather as assessment sites to allow people to be evaluated without having to enter the emergency department.

Once these tents are in service, patients will be screened for symptoms of viral respiratory illness, and if necessary, receive a secondary evaluation to determine treatment options.

We are committed to doing all we can to ensure we meet the health care needs of those throughout our region.

Additional Respiratory Symptom Clinics Opened 

Friday, March 27, 2020 | 12:45 pm

To continue to serve people who may be experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness, Wake Forest Baptist Health has opened up ten respiratory symptom clinics across the region. Learn more

Limited Testing for COVID-19

Wednesday, March 25, 2020 | 4:58 pm

At this time, Wake Forest Baptist Health is following state and national guidelines and is limiting COVID-19 testing in the outpatient setting to only patients ill enough to require admission to the hospital.

Two Primary Care Facilities Converted to Temporary Respiratory Symptom Clinics

Monday, March 23, 2020 | 4:18 pm

To help our community prepare for a possible increase in patients with symptoms of respiratory illness, two of Wake Forest Baptist Health’s primary care clinics have been converted into temporary respiratory symptom clinics and opened earlier today.

The two locations are:

  • Family Medicine and Internal Medicine – Peace Haven (1930 N. Peace Haven Rd., Winston-Salem)
  • Pulmonology – Westchester (1814 Westchester Dr., Suite 202, High Point)

People with symptoms of respiratory illness should first call their primary care provider for telephone screening to determine whether they need to be seen in person at one of the respiratory symptom clinics.

In-Person Pickup of Medical Records Temporarily Suspended

Sunday, March 22, 2020 | 2:59 pm

To protect the health of our patients and staff as the risk of COVID-19 increases in our region, in-person pick up of medical records is temporarily suspended. Patients have several options to access their records.

Learn more

Screening Update and Wake Forest Baptist Preparedness

Wednesday, March 18, 2020 | 11 am

Wake Forest Baptist Health has been actively planning and enacting our COVID-19 response for many weeks and our approach is aligned with the data-driven recommendations from the CDC, National Institutes of Health (NIH) and medical societies. In accordance with those guidelines, we have not established “drive-by” mass screenings to help preserve testing materials and personal protective equipment for the highest risk situations.

We ask (screen) every patient who comes to our clinics, urgent care locations or hospitals if they are experiencing any COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms. At this time, the CDC does not recommend testing patients who do not have symptoms of COVID-19, so we are only testing patients and staff who meet certain criteria.

In addition to asking those who are not immediate family members to avoid visiting patients in the hospital, we are also limiting the number of visitors to outpatient clinics and in surgical waiting rooms.

We are preparing additional triage and testing locations to use when they are needed, and are making plans to expand intensive care and other services if volume increases to a critical stage. Our incident command center is in operation around the clock to monitor testing, volume and capacity across the health system and we continue to collaborate with public health agencies and other area health systems to meet the needs of our community.

Do I Need to Be Screened or Tested for COVID-19?

Sunday, March 15, 2020 | 9:07 pm

Patients without symptoms:

Currently, the CDC does not recommend screening for patients without symptoms, so we are not offering this type of screening.

Patients with symptoms (cough, fever, shortness of breath):

Please contact your primary care provider or an urgent care clinic before visiting the clinic for instructions. Patients with symptoms will be screened and tested at our clinics or urgent care locations, if they meet COVID-19 criteria. 

Our recommendations and offerings will change as the situation evolves.