Information about Coronavirus (Covid-19), including obstetric recommendations

Update: September 8th, 2020

To All Christie Clinic Obstetric Patients and Their Families:

We continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic locally, regionally and nationally. Cases locally and nationally have been increasing in terms of new cases. The increase has been quite alarming in some areas of the country.  Locally, it will be very easy to overwhelm the healthcare system with even a small surge of patients requiring hospitalization.  For example, a surge of more than 50 patients requiring ICU services would be enough to overwhelm our local resources.  The virus is here indefinitely, and until we have an effective treatment or vaccine, we must remain vigilant to protect each other.

This update will summarize our current recommendations regarding COVID-19.  There are some changes to this announcement, therefore, please read thoroughly.

  1. Our strongest recommendation is to continue to minimize interaction with other people. It is very tempting to see neighbors, visit family, go out to dinner, etc., however,  all of these activities increase your risk of exposure.  The smaller you can make your circle of connections, the safer you and your baby will be.  Each person has their own unique set of circumstances to think about in terms of who you see and where you go.  If you must interact with people outside of your immediate family, it is extremely important to wear a mask and maintain social distance.  Even if the event is outside, you need to wear a mask if you cannot maintain social distance from other people. If you have questions about this, please talk to your provider at your next visit or send a portal message. 
  2. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, body aches, shortness of breath) or have had a close contact test positive for COVID-19, please call the office. Christie Clinic has a streamlined process for evaluation and testing to maximize your safety and minimize exposure to other patients.
  3. Please call the office before you present to Labor and Delivery or the Emergency Room. If you have an emergent problem, then we will discuss the safest way for you to be evaluated at the hospital. We will call ahead to the hospital to let them know you are on your way and notify them of your needs.  If you have a non-emergent problem, we will make arrangements for you to be seen timely in the office.  We have providers scheduled daily with same-day access to accommodate your needs.  Please call the office at 217-366-1255 to be triaged appropriately.  After-hours and over the weekend, this same number will connect to the answering service, who will then page the provider on-call. The provider will call you back to discuss your symptoms to make sure your needs are met.
  4. Please buy or borrow a blood pressure cuff for home use. One of the requirements for us to consider you a candidate for a Tele-Health visit during pregnancy is that you have a blood pressure cuff.  Your blood pressure is one of the most important measurements we take during your pregnancy.  Elevation in blood pressure is a marker of pre-eclampsia.  Pre-eclampsia is a disease unique to pregnancy and most often happens in the third trimester. It can be dangerous for you and your baby. It can be associated with headache, blurry vision, and upper abdominal pain.  These symptoms generally develop late in the course of pre-eclampsia, and elevated blood pressure may be the first sign of pre-eclampsia.
  5. We recommend that if you have the option of working from home for the foreseeable future, that you consider doing so. If you need a note to your employer with this recommendation, please send a portal message to your provider or call our receptionist. This is not a medical necessity that would qualify for FMLA unless you have an active health problem.
  6. Travel Precautions: As surrounding states lift restrictions, many patients are tempted to travel regionally or nationally. Travel increases your risk of contracting COVID-19. If you are planning to travel, we recommend that you wear a mask in public places, maintain social distancing and continue frequent hand washing. Please check the CDC websites for travel information. It is recommended that you quarantine for 14 days after international travel.
    1. For international travel- please click here. 
    2. For domestic travel- please click here. 
  7. We try to accommodate our patients’ needs in a timely manner. If you are experiencing long phone times, please consider sending a message through the portal, and we will contact you as quickly as possible.
  8. Video Visits are going very smoothly. We plan to continue to offer this as an alternative to an in-person visit for patients that qualify. We have the option to send the link for the Video Visit to your smartphone or over email.  The requirement is that the device has a camera and microphone.  You do not need to download any special App on your device to complete these visits. You can expect a phone call from your provider close to the time of your scheduled visit. These visits will be billed to insurance just like an in-person visit. We can also do many visits over the phone if that is your preference. Also see below on our prenatal option for Centering Pregnancy. 
  9. We highly encourage you to limit your chances of exposure by practicing social distancing, wearing a mask in public, frequent hand washing, leaving the house only for absolute essential travel, etc. With this in mind, a maximum of 1 support person will be allowed at your visit. Please refrain from bringing children with you to the office. We do not want you to cancel your visit if you don’t have childcare.  We are willing to see you in the office if you must bring your children, or we would be happy to rearrange your visit to another time on the same day or another day if that would be easier for you to arrange childcare.  We are a family-friendly office and hope to allow you to bring your family and children back to the office soon.
  10. Things we are doing to minimize your exposure:
    • If you have had a fever in the past 48 hours or have upper respiratory infection symptoms, please call the office before coming to your appointment.
    • If you have a mask at home (N95, ear loop mask or cloth mask), please wear it to your visit. If you do not have a mask, one will be provided to you and your support person upon entry to the building. We will not be able to see you in the office without a mask.
    • All of our team members will be wearing masks.
    • We ask that you wait in your car until 5 minutes before your appointment time. You and your visitor will be screened in our department with questions and a temperature check. Our waiting room seating is set up for social distancing and seating is cleaned after use. We are trying to minimize your time in the waiting room. If you are experiencing long wait times, please notify our receptionist.
    • If you need a lab draw, it will be done in your exam room rather than going up to the lab.
    • If you only need a lab draw or injection, it can be done in your car.
    • Patients with upper respiratory symptoms will be directed to Christie Clinic Convenient Care on Windsor and Mattis in Champaign. There are covered parking spots there. Once in the parking spot, there is a sign with the number to call, and a provider will come out to see the patient in their car.

11. Breastfeeding Classes

  • We have resumed in-person classes for breastfeeding. These classes will be limited in size to allow for social distancing in the room. These classes will be done in a room large enough to maintain social distancing.  Currently, the classes are held at the Christie Clinic Leadership Center, located at 206 West White Street, Champaign, IL 61820. Parking is located at the corner of White Street and State Street. 
  • Theresa Hardy, IBCLC: Theresa teaches the free breastfeeding classes through Christie Clinic. Please call the office to sign up for these classes.
  • She is willing to provide one-on-one consults with patients who are breastfeeding via ZOOM. You can email her directly at: thardy@nurturedb@gmail.com to arrange these visits.
  • OSF: Call the OSF Breastfeeding Resource Center 309-683-6672 for information to arrange outpatient visits. The local hospital lactation team can see you after delivery for one on one visits.
  • Carle: Currently the lactation department is providing phone visits.

12. Current visitor policies at the local hospitals since 7/20/20:

  • Please have your support person wear a mask at all times when hospital staff, nurses, midwives or physicians are in the room. You will not be required to wear a mask in labor unless you have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • OSF will allow one support person during the stay. It must be the same person. That person will NOT be allowed to come and go from the hospital. They must stay with you the entire stay. The hospitals will provide meal trays to your support person. They will not be allowed to leave the unit, go to the cafeteria, move throughout the hospital, go outside to smoke or leave the building. 
  • Carle will allow one support person during the stay. It must be the same person. The preference is that this person stays with you in your room the entire stay. The hospital has recently updated their policy (7/20/20) to allow the support person to leave the floor once per day. The hospitals will provide meal trays to your support person.

13. Isolation at term: We recommend that you isolate at home starting at 37 weeks until delivery to minimize your risk of exposure to COVID-19 prior to your delivery. Please discuss your specific work situation with your provider to develop a plan. 

14. Childbirth Education Classes:  

  • Currently in-person education classes are suspended at both OSF and Carle Foundation Hospital.
  • Carle is offering classes via ZOOM. These can be found on their website. 
  • Your provider can send educational video links to your portal. Your provider will discuss this with you at future visits.

15. Testing for COVID prior to admission:

  • Since 4/28/20, we have been screening all of our patients that are scheduled for induction of labor or cesarean section for COVID-19 prior to admission to the hospital. This test will be arranged via one of the drive-thru clinics 72 hours prior to admission. Patients are then asked to isolate at home from the time of the test until admission.
  • Your support person does not need to be tested prior to admission. 

16. Hospital tours: 

  • OSF has resumed tours of labor and delivery. You can schedule a tour of the unit by calling 217-337-2123.
  • There is also a short video tour of OSF  here. 
  • Carle has not yet resumed tours.

17. Centering Pregnancy: We are continuing our recruitment for Centering Prenatal Care. These sessions are conducted over Zoom.

  • Centering is group prenatal care that starts at 16 weeks and continues through your pregnancy. It is not a complete substitute for your one-on-one visits with your provider. It offers comprehensive prenatal education in a small group setting with participants that are at the same gestational age.  If you are interested in learning more about Centering Pregnancy, please discuss this with your provider at your next visit.
  • For more information on our Centering Pregnancy sessions, please click here or visit the Centering Healthcare Institute page. 

As the situation changes locally, we will keep you informed of new recommendations and information.  The best tool we have for quick updates is the patient portal.  Mass portal messages can be tricky, and we apologize if some of you have received this message more than once or if this letter no longer applies to your situation. 

Sincerely,

Christie Clinic Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology