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

Update: May 20th, 2020

To All Christie Clinic Obstetric Patients and Their Families:

The health and safety of you and your baby are the highest priority for our team.  The pandemic of COVID-19 is changing quickly around the world and locally.  There are currently positive cases in Champaign County and the larger region in central Illinois. We continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic locally and regionally, as we have days with double digit increases in number of new local cases.  Some communities across the country are considering lifting restrictions.  Lifting restrictions does not mean that it is safe to return to our routines that we had pre-COVID-19.  The virus is here indefinitely, and until we have an effective treatment or vaccine we must remain vigilant to protect each other.

We would like to limit the potential of exposure while you are receiving prenatal care.  With this in mind, we would like you to be aware of the following:

1. 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.

2. Please call the office before you present to Labor and Delivery or the Emergency Room. These are high risk exposure areas. 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 what your needs are.  If you have a non-emergent problem, then 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 on weekends, 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.

3. Please consider buying or borrowing a blood pressure cuff for home use. One of the requirements for us to consider you as 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, as 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.

4. 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.

5. If you are experiencing long phone times, please consider sending a message through the portal, and we will contact you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your patience during these trying times. 

6. We have implemented Tele-Health visits and they are going very smoothly. This is a great option for many of our patients for certain types of visits, and 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 have a camera and a microphone. You don’t need to download any special Apps on your device. 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 you prefer. We are offering this to our patients to minimize your need for travel which can increase your risk of exposure to COVID-19.  You will have up to 15 minutes to meet with your provider.  We will be happy to see you in person if you are not interested in a Tele-Health visit.

7. 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. 

8. 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 your and your support person upon entry of the building. We will not be able to see you for your appointment without a mask. 
    • All of our team members with direct patient contact 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 at the door with questions and a temperature check. You will then come up to our office on the second floor and be brought directly back to your room.
    • 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 as long as you have a driver.
    • The Pediatrics Department is also working to minimize the exposure to you and your newborn. The healthy newborns will all be seen in the morning to avoid any mixing of healthy and sick contacts.
    • Christie Clinic has started a clinic specifically for Upper Respiratory Infections. This is located at Christie Clinic in Urbana on Windsor Road. This is for any patient- pediatric and adults- with URI symptoms.

9. Breastfeeding Resources when you go home from the hospital:

    • Theresa Hardy, LLC: Theresa teaches the free breastfeeding classes through Christie Clinic. She will be offering these through ZOOM.  Please call the office to sign up for these classes.
    • She is willing to provide 1-on-1 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 virtual visits.
    • Carle: Currently the lactation department is providing phone visits.

10. Current visitor policies at the local hospitals as of 4/6/20:

    • Both Carle Foundation Hospital and OSF have updated their policies. Both 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.

11.  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.

12. Childbirth Education Classes: (Free through end of May) 

  • customizedinc.com/childbirtheducation
  • Currently in-person education classes are suspended at both OSF and Carle Foundation Hospital. The website above has comprehensive education materials for childbirth education.

13. Testing for COVID-19 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.
  • We hope that as the access to testing continues to improve that we will be able to test even more patients prior to admission.  Your provider can discuss this with you at your next visit.

14. Hospital Tours: 

  • Tours have been suspended at both local hospitals until further notice. The link for a short video tour of OSF is available here.

15. CenteringPregnancy: 

  • We hope to resume recruitment for our Centering Program in the near future. 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. We are working to move to a virtual format. If you are interested in learning more about Centering, please discuss this with your provider at your next visit or give us a call. 

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. If you do not have portal access, please talk with our office staff about signing up for access today.  Please discuss any questions or concerns with your provider.

-Christie Clinic Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology