COVID-19

Coronavirus: Agnesian HealthCare, a member of SSM Health, is prepared

Agnesian HealthCare teams meet daily to discuss developments involving coronavirus.

April 7 Update: 8 a.m.

Homemade Masks: Many talented and generous individuals have reached out to us regarding the sewing and donation of handmade masks. We are accepting these items. Necessary instructions and patterns for volunteers making these items in our community are attached. Click here for cotton mask with pocket pattern. This pattern and the materials requested have been vetted and approved by clinical staff and our infection control team. Please note: We are continuing to follow the CDC guidelines regarding PPE use. Please direct all donation requests to Jennifer Stephens at Jennifer.Stephens1@ssmhealth or (920) 924-4662.

April 3 Update: 1 p.m.

Planning Steps for Patients & Families: The global Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic presents new challenges for individuals, families, health professionals and health systems. Realities of the COVID-19 illness experience, particularly in circumstances where symptoms become severe enough for potential hospitalization, underscore the importance of thinking and talking about the care you want before any such hospital care may happen. The National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF) partnered with palliative care experts to develop this guide. See guide here.

March 27 Update: Noon

  • Surgical Procedures Visiting Guidelines: The procedural areas of Surgery and the GI Lab will be observing the SSM Health system no visitors guidelines. The exception to this guideline will be for OB and end-of-life patients where one support person may be present.
  • Visitor Restrictions for Hospital-Based Clinics & Outpatient Diagnostic and Procedural Areas (Medical Imaging, Lab, etc.): NEW - Effective Monday, March 30, patients are no longer allowed to have a visitor accompany them for in-clinic appointments. One accompanying visitor may still be allowed in the following circumstances: Patients whose mental, physical, or emotional abilities make a visitor an essential part of caring for the patient pediatric patients. If either of the above criteria is met then the visitor will be screened, per protocol, before being allowed to proceed to the visit with the patient.
  • Weekly Radio Updates: As individuals and families are trying to stay up-to-date on the latest information on the COVID-19 pandemic during these uncertain times, area radio stations and health care leaders are introducing a new weekly update at 3:30 p.m. every Monday while needed. The first session is slated for Monday, March 30. Interested individuals can listen to the following radio stations: KFIZ -AM, AM 1450; WFDL-FM, 97.7; WFDL-AM (FM 93.7/AM  1170/FM 103.3); WBEV-AM, AM 1430. The weekly radio shows will provide updates on COVID-19 developments, important information the community needs to know, concluding with listener questions. Listeners are asked to submitted questions directly to each radio station. The following community leaders will be providing updates: Kim Mueller, Fond du Lac County Public Health Officer: Community update and ways to stay healthy and slow the curve; Katherine Vergos, St. Agnes Hospital President: Details on preparedness and important information on accessing care; Matt Doll, PhD, Agnesian HealthCare Behavioral Health Services Director: Available resources to effectively manage anxiety and seek mental health care.

March 26 Update: 1:50 p.m.

We know that many individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic are without jobs or insurance. We want to help individuals who are finding ways to continue receiving mental health care with this guidance.

  • Speak with Human Resources at your previous company to determine if they are extending health care through the COVID 19 pandemic for laid off employees. This may include COBRA coverage which is often expensive.
  • Speak with your spouse’s employer about getting on their health plan. Not married? Some health plans include coverage for a Legally Domiciled Adult (LDA) if you are living with another adult who has health care coverage. Ask if their company allows this.
  • Consider a purchasing a health care plan through the Marketplace. This coverage can begin on the first day of the month after you lose coverage. (Example: If you lose your job on March 15 and apply for coverage by March 31, your coverage can start on April 1). Go to https://www.healthcare.gov/screener/ to see what you qualify for.

Whenever you are looking to switch insurance providers, we recommend contacting the office of your therapist to ensure you pick a plan that covers your care. Depending on the type of licensure your therapist has, this may vary.

March 25 Update: 3:25 p.m.

Agnesian Bone & Joint Health, Beaver Dam: Today is the last day that orthopedic services will be offered in Beaver Dam until further notice. Patients in need will be seen in Waupun. The Beaver Dam office phone - (920) 887-6650 - will continue to answer to address patient needs and questions.

March 24 Update: 12:50 p.m.

Retail Pharmacies: To further protect patients and our health care teams and to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, SSM Health and the Greater Fond du Lac Ministries are suspending normal pharmacy services in locations across Wisconsin. Starting Wednesday, March 25, we will no longer allow patients to come directly to a pharmacy counter or pharmacy waiting area to pick up their medications. Instead, we ask patients to coordinate their prescriptions by telephone for either curbside pick-up or free-of-charge delivery by U.S. mail or courier. Drive-thru options also are available at our Main Street location in Fond du Lac and N. Margaret Street location in Markesan. In addition, we will temporarily close operations the Agnesian Prescription Center - Health Plaza on Camelot Drive in Fond du Lac. Agnesian Pharmacy Plus will be handling the Prescription Center calls and will work with patients to fill their prescriptions. We also have adjusted some pharmacy hours which are reflected in the information below. To arrange for curbside medication pickup, patients will be asked to phone the pharmacy in advance to arrange a specific time to receive their prescriptions. Please contact your local Agnesian Pharmacy for assistance. We thank the community, patients and visitors for their patience and understanding during this time.

  • Agnesian Pharmacy Main Street: 145 N. Main Street, Fond du Lac, temporarily closed to walk-in services. For assistance, call (920) 926-4660. Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., weekdays; 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., weekends. Drive thru, mail out, courier and curb-side options.
  • Agnesian Pharmacy Plus: 420 E. Division Street, Fond du Lac, temporarily closed to walk-in services. For assistance, call (920) 926-8585. Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., weekdays; closed weekends. Mail out, courier and curb-side options.
  • Agnesian Pharmacy West: 912 S. Hickory Street, Fond du Lac, temporarily closed to walk-in services. For assistance, call (920) 926-7480. Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., weekdays; closed weekends. Drive thru, mail out, courier, curb-side options.
  • Agnesian Prescription Center Health Plaza: 421 Camelot Drive Fond du Lac, temporarily closed for ALL services. For assistance, call (920) 926-8585.
  • Agnesian Pharmacy Waupun: 904 W. Main Street, Waupun, temporarily closed for walk-in services. For assistance, call (920) 324-3010. Hours:  9 a.m. to 7 p.m., weekdays; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturdays; closed Sundays. Mail out, courier and curb-side options.
  • Agnesian Pharmacy Markesan: 730 N. Margaret Street, Markesan, temporarily closed for walk-in services. For assistance, call (920) 398-3261. Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., weekdays; closed weekends. Drive thru, mail out and curb-side options.

March 23 Update: 3:50 p.m.

  • Agnesian Convenient Care Clinic: Starting today, anyone coming into the 145 N. Main Street facility in Fond du Lac will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms to most effectively direct them to appropriate care areas. Screeners are located inside the main door.
  • Agnesian Eye Care Services: Our eye care providers are on-site for urgent or emergent eye care needs. Patients are asked to call (920) 926-8472 prior to their visit. The Agnesian Optical Shop is closing its retail services.
  • Fond du Lac Regional Clinic Fox Lake: This clinic will be temporarily closing on Wednesday, March 25 to shift provider and staff resources to the Fond du Lac Regional Clinic in Markesan or Waupun. Patients will be contacted directly and should call (920) 928-6300 for future medical needs.
  • Visitor Restrictions: To promote the safety of our patients, employees and the community, we are modifying visits throughout Agnesian HealthCare hospital sites. Visitors (18 years and older) may still be allowed in the following circumstances:
    • Compassionate care exceptions may be made in end-of-life situations or when a visitor is essential for the patient’s emotional well-being and care.
    • Women & Infants patients will be allowed one visitor, with permission of nursing leader.
    • Patients in pediatric settings will be allowed one visitor, with permission of nursing leader.
    • If a visit meets the above criteria, visitors will be asked to complete a health screening before being approved to visit.

March 22 Update: 2:05 p.m.

  • Fond du Lac Regional Clinic West: Effective Monday, March 23, the Fond du Lac Regional Clinic West, 912 S. Hickory Street in Fond du Lac, will be closed temporarily in light of COVID-19. We are continually looking for ways to best consolidate and conserve our provider and facility resources while keeping our patients’ and staffs’ well-being our number one priority. This will also provide us the opportunity to more easily clean and sanitize our facility. We’ll be calling our patients and providing care in alternative ways until we are able to get back to normal business hours. Our team is still here to support our patients should they have any questions while the Fond du Lac Regional Clinic West is closed. Call us at (920) 929-7490 (926-4600, Agnesian Pharmacy Main Street). We’re committed to reopening at the earliest time that makes sense. We understand that we’re in unprecedented times, and our commitment now and always is to keep our patients safe and protected.
  • RMC Wellness Center: The RMC Wellness Center will close Monday afternoon, March 23, until further notice. Billing will be placed on hold.
  • St. Francis Home: Social media reports that St. Francis Home is being used for COVID-19 patient overflow is false information. St. Agnes Hospital is managing all patient care within its walls thanks to extensive planning and the reduction of non-urgent elective procedures. Thanks to the efforts of the St. Francis Home staff, SSM Health, and our residents and family members, there are no cases of COVID-19 at St Francis Home. We are grateful for the support of the Fond du Lac community for honoring our nursing home visitor restrictions. If you know anyone living in a nursing home or assisted living facility, we encourage you to call or send a card letting them know you are thinking of them.

March 20 Update: 4 p.m.

  • Drug Drop Boxes: The community is being asked to withhold any drug drop box collections at Ripon Medical Center, St. Agnes Hospital and Waupun Memorial Hospital until after May 1.
  • Elective Procedures: At this time, efforts will continue to review non-life threatening, non-urgent surgeries, and procedures or annual well checks through May 1. Patients are being contacted directly if these are postponed.
  • Event Cancellations: Until further notice, all events, classes and gatherings within Agnesian HealthCare are postponed. Be advised some marketing materials are in circulation that are no longer relevant.
  • Return-to-Work Testing: The emergency departments at Ripon Medical Center, St. Agnes Hospital and Waupun Memorial Hospital will not perform COVID-19 testing for return-to-work or generalized screening. Visit ssmhealth.com/covid19 for a FREE virtual screening or call (844) 225-0147.

March 19 Update: 4 p.m.

March 18 Update: 3:15 p.m.

  • Free Virtual Screening: Agnesian HealthCare patients now have an additional option if they have concerns regarding COVID-19 symptoms, recent travel or potential exposure in addition to our existing (844) 225-0147. SSM Health is offering a FREE virtual screening tool at ssmhealth.com/Covid19. This will involve an online screening survey, which will be reviewed by a provider who will make a testing decision or other diagnosis and provide a course of treatment. If a test is needed, they will direct individuals to the nearest testing location.
  • Agnesian Health Shoppe Closing: In an effort to respond to COVID-19 and shorten the duration of the outbreak, the Agnesian Health Shoppe is closing our retail store location effective at end of day today, March 18. Although our showrooms will be closed during this time, we will use our resources to continue to provide equipment and supplies to our patients through delivery and shipment. Agnesian Health Care’s home care and hospice teams will continue to see patients and provide care as they are able. The health and safety of our patients and staff is always our top priority. We believe that this step is in the best interest of patients, staff and the community during this time. This is a rapidly evolving situation, and we will reassess schedules and reopening of our showroom on an ongoing basis. If you have questions, contact the Agnesian Health Shoppe at (920) 926-5277.
  • National Healthcare Decisions Day: Agnesian HealthCare’s National Healthcare Decisions Day, originally scheduled for April 16, has been cancelled.

March 17 Update: 1:05 p.m.

  • The Samaritan Health Clinic remains open and efforts are underway to navigate assistance by phone when possible. Precautionary measures will be taken for any clients coming on campus for assistance. Call (920) 926-4841 to receive assistance prior to arrival.
  • Outpatient laboratory patients at the 420 E. Division Street campus in Fond du Lac are asked to enter through the Fond du Lac Regional Clinic side entrance to expedite arrival and departure.
  • A reminder that all community support groups and education classes, as well as Volunteer Services fund-raiser sales, have been cancelled until further notice.
  • Valet parking at St. Agnes Hospital and the Agnesian Health Plaza A are being suspended.
  • As visitor restrictions continue, the Women & Infants areas at St. Agnes Hospital and Waupun Memorial Hospital will temporarily discontinue baby photos. 

March 16 Update: 1:30 p.m.

  • The gift shop locations at Ripon Medical Center, St. Agnes Hospital and Waupun Memorial Hospital are closed until further notice.
  • Like the Fond du Lac Regional Clinic and St. Agnes Hospital, Ripon Medical Center and Waupun Memorial Hospital are currently reviewing elective surgical and other procedures or annual well checks, and will be contacting patients directly if these are cancelled.
  • Walk-in mammograms have been cancelled at Ripon Medical Center, St. Agnes Hospital and Waupun Memorial Hospital.
  • Endocrinology services in Ripon and Waupun have been cancelled for two weeks and will then be reassessed.
  • Diabetic group classes in Ripon and Waupun are cancelled for one week and then will be reassessed.
  • At Ripon Medical Center and Waupun Memorial Hospital, ID Services, Anticoagulation Management Services, Ambulatory Infusion and Home Infusion services will continue as usual. We will be working with patients who are uncomfortable seeking care.

March 15 Update: 12:30 p.m.

  • We’re meeting daily since March 11 to ensure that every aspect of patient care is being met. We are closely following guidelines and direction from Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • To protect the health of our patients and staff, we have implemented visitor restrictions. The following changes are now in place, including:
    • Intensive Care Unit is allowing no visitors, unless in end-of-life care situations
    • No visitors to hospital inpatients, unless in end-of-life situations
    • Only one primary support person in Women & Infants
    • Only essential caregivers allowed to accompany patients in clinic
    • Limited visitors in emergency department and none under 16 years of age
    • The Hospice Home of Hope is limiting visitors
    • All visitors will be screened prior to admission and must be in good health (no signs of a respiratory infection, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath or sore throat) and must be 16 years of age or older.
  • We are currently reviewing elective procedures or annual well checks and will be contacting patients directly if these are cancelled. Walk-in mammograms have been cancelled at Ripon Medical Center, St. Agnes Hospital and Waupun Memorial Hospital.
  • If you have a medical emergency, call 911. Share with the dispatcher your specific symptoms.
  • For COVID-19 general questions, call 211.
  • If you have symptoms, have traveled domestically or internationally or been exposed to a positive tested patient, call (844) 225-0147. Callers will be screened and given direction on next steps. A testing site has been established for patients who have been prescreened and determined to need testing.
  • Pandemic planning - internally and with our community partners - is something that we have been working on for years. We have policies in place, we routinely review and update those, and we frequently drill these processes.
  • Please remember to continue to practice social distancing, wash your hands, cover your cough and stay home if you are ill.
  • Please know that we are committed to the community’s health and safety during this COVID-19 pandemic.

March 14 Update: 12 p.m.

Hospital Visitor Restrictions: Ripon Medical Center and Waupun Memorial Hospital are implementing visitor restrictions today due to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic. 

The following changes are now in place, including:

  • Intensive Care Unit is allowing no visitors, unless in end-of-life care situations
  • No visitors to hospital inpatients, unless in end-of-life situations
  • Only one primary support person in Women & Infants
  • Only essential caregivers allowed to accompany patients in clinic
  • Limited visitors in emergency department and none under 16 years of age

All visitors will be screened prior to admission and must be in good health (no signs of a respiratory infection, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath or sore throat) and must be 16 years of age or older.

Adult Day Services: Adult Day Services is closed until further notice. Information has been shared with clients and their families.

March 13 Update: 4:20 p.m.

St. Agnes Hospital and Fond du Lac Regional Clinic are implementing visitor restrictions on Saturday, March 14, 2020 due to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic. The following changes are now in place, including:

  • Intensive Care Unit is allowing no visitors, unless in end-of-life care situations
  • No visitors to hospital inpatients, unless in end-of-life situations
  • Only one primary support person in Women & Infants
  • Only essential caregivers allowed to accompany patients in clinic
  • Limited visitors in emergency department and none under 16 years of age

All visitors will be screened prior to admission and must be in good health (no signs of a respiratory infection, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath or sore throat) and must be 16 years of age or older.

SSM Health in Wisconsin has also made changes to the visitation policies at all of our long-term care facilities. Based on directives from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the skilled nursing centers will not allow any individuals in the facilities unless it is a special situation, such as end of life. Visitation will be restricted if anyone meets the following criteria:

  • Signs or symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat.
  • In the last 14 days, has had contact with someone with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, or under investigation for COVID-19, or are ill with respiratory illness.
  • International travel within the last 14 days to countries with sustained community transmission.
  • Residing in a community where community-based spread of COVID-19 is occurring.

Out of an abundance of caution, we are also asking our non-essential volunteers to stay home. Each ministry is being asked to determine what volunteer-led tasks are considered essential and to communicate these decisions and plans with their volunteers.

Agnesian HealthCare support groups and education classes regularly bring visitors into our facilities. Some examples of these include our diabetes support groups and stroke support groups. These are cancelled until further notice.

All these restrictions and limitations are in place until further notice.

For more information on COVID-19 and System level updates, continue to check the COVID-19 intranet page.

March 13, 2020 by Agnesian HealthCare, a member of SSM Health

With confirmed cases of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in the United States, Agnesian HealthCare, a member of SSM Health, is taking proactive steps to ensure the continued safety of our patients, visitors, physicians, staff and communities. We are working with regional health authorities, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to actively monitor the situation and ensure we have the most up-to-date information.

Health organizations, like Agnesian HealthCare, have learned valuable lessons from previous emerging infectious diseases such as Ebola, SARS and even influenza. As such, we are as prepared as we can be and have developed protocols, plans and policies to address situations like this one.

“Coronavirus is in the news a lot right now and may seem scary,” says Alex Garza, MD, MPH, chief medical officer at SSM Health. “However, we can’t forget that influenza, for which we have a vaccine, can also be very dangerous. This has been a severe flu season and as a physician, I highly recommend that everyone get their flu shot if they haven’t already.”

To protect the safety of our residents at the Christian Home & Rehabilitation Center in Waupun, St. Francis Home in Fond du Lac, and Villa Loretto/Villa Rosa in Mt. Calvary, we are asking family members and friends to refrain from visiting residents at this time due to positive Coronavirus (COVID-19) tests in Fond du Lac County.


Frequently-Asked Questions

Is coronavirus brand new?

The answer is both yes and no. Actually, coronavirus is a type of virus that was first identified nearly 50 years ago. There are many types of viruses, but recently the virus associated with China is of concern because of the increase in numbers and associated deaths, initially within China. This virus is called the 2019 Novel Coronavirus or COVID 19 - novel meaning new.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

Symptoms for the coronavirus mimic those of other respiratory illnesses - mainly fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath.

How does coronavirus spread?

Viruses typically spread by respiratory droplets. This can occur by coughing or sneezing.  The spread or transmission can occur within six feet of an infected person.  While this applies to the common cold or influenza, the same principle applies to the COVID-19.

Who's at risk?

There is still a lot we don’t know about COVID-19. Many people experience mild illness from the virus, but it can be more severe for others, even resulting in death. Most of the severe cases involve older persons and those with underlying conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure. The general American public is still considered to be at low risk.

What are the best ways to protect myself from this or any other respiratory virus?

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water. Use an alcohol-based hand cleaner if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a sleeve or a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth to prevent the spread of germs.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, especially if someone is sick.
  • Stay home if you are sick.

What should I do if I think I have symptoms of COVID-19?

Call your doctor: If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your health care provider for medical advice. Calling ahead allows the health care provider’s office to take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed. For more information on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick, visit the CDC web site for recommendations.

How do clinicians protect themselves?

Because this virus is new, health care workers are asked to protect themselves by wearing a mask when in contact with a patient suspected of having this type of virus. The patient is also placed in a negative pressure room (if available) or contained in a private room and must wear an isolation mask. These precautions are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) because this is a new virus and how the respiratory droplets spread is still being studied.

Could all of this information change next week or next month?

Yes. The information regarding the spread of the illness and how people get sick is constantly being updated because this is a new virus. The CDC is the best source of current information on coronavirus.

What should I know if I plan to travel overseas?

If you are traveling abroad, check the CDC web site often and be aware of travel restrictions.

Instructions on how to download ZOOM for a virtual visit with a provider.  Click here.