Frequently Asked Questions
About Coronavirus



  • What are the symptoms I should be looking for?
    Most cases of COVID-19 are mild, causing cold-like symptoms, but people with severe illness can have a fever, nonstop cough, shortness of breath and, in some cases, dizziness, confusion, chest pain and frequent diarrhea and vomiting.


  • What if I have these symptoms?
    If you have any of these symptoms AND have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19, seek medical attention. Call your provider or Emergency Room ahead of time for any virus prevention instructions in place for those visiting the facility. (863.284.5000 if your primary provider is with Lakeland Regional Health) or the hospital (863.687.1100 and ask to be connected to the Emergency Department)


  • Can someone exposed to the virus who is not yet showing symptoms spread it to others?
    Yes. Though it is more common for the disease to spread from someone showing symptoms, the amount of virus “shedding” (spreading to others) can happen before symptoms appear.


  • Do face masks help?
    It is not recommended that anyone wear a mask while in public unless they are feeling ill with a cough and fever. Washing your hands and keeping your fingers away from your nose and eyes are some of the most important steps you can take to help protect yourself. Masks give a false sense of security, impair communication and do not fully protect the person.


  • How can I protect myself?
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
    • Cough and sneeze into your elbow to keep germs from spreading to others.
    • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces routinely.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. 


  • What is the incubation period?
    An incubation period is the number of days between when a person was exposed to someone sick and when the first symptoms start.  For COVID-19, the incubation period is between 2 and 14 days with an average of just over 6 days.
  • Is testing available?
    COVID-19 tests are not done locally, but if the situation meets criteria set forth by the CDC, samples can be sent to the state laboratory in Tampa.  Simultaneously, we will test for more common illnesses, such as influenza.  Meanwhile we have plans in place to isolate the patient, protect team members and work with public health authorities as we await the test results.


  • How does this affect visitors at Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center?
    In hope of protecting our most vulnerable patients, we are screening visitors to our Emergency Department, Surgical Intensive Care Unit, Trauma Intensive Care Unit and Medical Intensive Care Unit at Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center.Please do not visit our Medical Center if:

    – You have returned from international travel or been on a cruise within the last 14 days.
    – You have signs or symptoms of a respiratory infection such as fever, Cough, Shortness of Breath.
    – You have had contact with someone who has OR is under investigation for Coronavirus-19.

    Parents of a child in our care or those visiting a critically ill patient who answer yes to any of the above questions will be given badge access but will be required to wear a mask or other protective equipment.

    As conditions change, our visitor policy may also be altered.


  • What is “social distancing”?
    If the virus that causes COVID-19 begins to spread in the community; public health experts and government leaders can recommend people act to place more space between themselves and other people. Examples would be avoiding crowds, canceling larger gatherings of people, closing school, delivering groceries instead of going into the store, etc.  It is hard to predict if the situation will worsen to the point that these steps are recommended but other countries have taken these steps to slow down the spread of the virus.  Knowing this gives us a chance to plan and start asking how we would deal with these circumstances.