What you need to know during COVID-19

The situation with COVID-19 in Iowa and across the country is changing rapidly, with constant updates. We at Mercy Iowa City are committed to the health and safety of our patients and colleagues, and are adapting our practices on a daily basis to ensure their welfare.

COVID-19 Vaccine

Mercy Iowa City is actively preparing to receive the COVID vaccine, however there won't be enough for everyone to get it right away. As more vaccine doses become available, we will work to ensure everyone who wants a vaccine can receive it. We will provide additional information to our patients and the community as it becomes available. While awaiting FDA approval for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, Mercy Iowa City knows it will receive a limited number of vaccines to distribute in phases, in accordance with CDC guidelines. Vaccines may be more widely available by spring or summer 2021.

We know there are still many questions and concerns regarding these vaccines. To learn more about COVID-19 vaccines, view the MercyOne COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions or visit the CDC or FDA websites.

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Masks are required to be worn at every Mercy facility including the hospital, clinics and parking areas. This includes patients, visitors, contractors, vendors and colleagues. If you do not have a mask, they are available at the screening stations in the main lobby or Emergency Care Unit.

Entrances and Screenings

  • Patients and visitors may enter the skywalk or main lobby entrance and will be screened at a station in the lobby.
  • Main lobby and skywalk hours are 5:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday, and 7 a.m.-4 p.m. weekends
  • At all other times patients and visitors should enter at the Emergency Care Unit and will be screened there.


Visitors are currently limited to one healthy adult (aged 18 and over) per patient in the hospital at one time. For pediatrics patients we will limit visitors to two healthy adults (aged 18 and over) per patient in the hospital at one time. Only those who are here to visit a patient will be allowed at this time. All visitors will be screened to protect everyone’s health and safety. Patients who have been diagnosed with, or are suspected to have, COVID-19 will be unable to receive visitors. All visitors are required to wear masks while in public.

If a person is coming into Mercy for lab work, xrays, ECG's etc:

  • Only 1 adult (age 18 or older) can accompany the patient. No others will be allowed.
  • Both the patient and the adult accompanying them will be screened in the lobby and will be required to wear a mask. There are no exceptions to the screening.

Mercy Iowa City clinics offer Telehealth appointments, an easy way to connect with your provider from home. Learn More

Donations of Supplies Welcome!

Donations of PPE supplies (personal protective equipment) are welcome, and we appreciate donations during this time when supplies are short to protect our caregivers. Supplies appreciated at this time include:

  • Disposable gowns or jumpsuits (see DIY instructions below)
  • Gloves
  • Face shields
  • Safety glasses

If you have PPE to donate to Mercy Iowa City, please call Mercy Materiel Management at 319-339-3647 Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Donations made on weekends can be scheduled by calling Mercy Security at 319-339-3694.

Cloth Masks Suggested cloth mask pattern
Thank you for your interest in sewing fabric masks for Mercy Iowa City. Because the health and safety of our patients and colleagues is paramount, please ensure that the supplies and masks are made from a tightly woven poly-cotton fabric and are from a smoke free environment, and that no one in the household has been exposed to COVID-19. Please enclose the completed masks in plastic bags or closed plastic boxes. All masks will be sterilized before use.

We would appreciate cloth gowns following the directions provided by the Iowa Department of Public Health here: Gown sewing guidance | Homemade gown use guidance

DIY plastic gown guidelines
If you have completed masks or gowns to donate to Mercy Iowa City, please call Mercy Materiel Management at 319-339-3647 Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. to schedule an appointment for drop off. Donations made on weekends can be scheduled by calling Mercy Security at 319-339-3694. Donations should be delivered to the loading dock located on Johnson Street between Market and Bloomington Streets.

Guest Lodging

Beginning June 1, operating at 25% capacity. Call 319-339-3659 for reservations. Learn more

Gift Shop

Mercy Iowa City’s Gift Shop is currently open from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Friday.


Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-6 p.m. (grill and hot food closes at 1:30 p.m.) Saturday and Sunday, 7:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Only those who are here to visit a patient will be allowed at this time.

Symptoms of COVID-19 and what to do

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness. The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure*:

  • fever
  • cough
  • shortness of breath / difficulty breathing
  • sore throat
  • diarrehea, nausea, vomiting
  • smell/taste changes

Always call your health care provider if you feel sick with fever, cough or difficulty breathing. Please let your provider know if you have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19. Your health care professional will evaluate you to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19. If you don't have a provider, call Mercy On Call, 319-358-2767.

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 seek medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include*:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are concerning.

Social Distancing, Quarantine, and Isolation

How do people get Coronavirus?

COVID-19 is spread mainly from person-to-person, similar to the flu – through the air from a cough or sneeze of someone who has the virus. It may be possible a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object which has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How can we prevent the spread of COVID-19?

To help prevent the spread of all viruses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends:

  • Staying home if you are sick
  • Wear a mask when with others
  • Social distancing, keeping at least 6 feet of distance from others
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
  • Covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • Thoroughly washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Disinfecting surfaces and objects (phones, computers, desktops, counters, faucets, etc.) using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe

If you are sick with COVID-19 or suspect you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, follow the steps below to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community:

  • Stay home except to get medical care
  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home
  • Call ahead before visiting your doctor, going to Urgent Care or the Emergency Room
  • Wear a face mask when seeking medical care
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes
  • Clean your hands often
  • Avoid sharing personal household items
  • Clean all "high-touch" surfaces everyday
  • Monitor your symptoms
  • Continue home isolation as recommended by your provider

What do I do if I think I have been exposed to COVID-19?

If you are concerned you have been exposed to COVID-19, please contact your health care provider who will evaluate you to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19. Please call your health care provider before going in.

At Mercy Iowa City, we are following guidelines provided by the CDC and Iowa Public Health Department to screen patients for symptoms including fever and respiratory signs as well as exposure to COVID-19.

If a person is found to have symptoms and travel history suggesting COVID-19, precautions will be used during care to help prevent transmission to others. Testing will occur in accordance a provider's assessment and criteria as described by Iowa Department of Public Health.

If you begin to experience symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, call your primary care provider before coming in.If you do not have a doctor, call Mercy On Call at 319-358-2767 to find a provider near you.

Additional Information/Resources

If you have general questions on COVID-19, please dial 2-1-1.
For the latest CDC guidelines, visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/.

IDPH Summary of Enhanced Public Health Measures



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