Visitors, masks and safety information

The situation with COVID-19 in Iowa and across the country is changing rapidly, with constant updates. 

Temporary Visiting Hours: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, visitation is restricted to one healthy adult (18 years old or older) visitors per patient, per day. For pediatric patients, two healthy parents/legal guardians per patient, per day are permitted.

Masks are required by all visitors.

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.

If a person is coming into Mercy for outpatient surgery, lab work, xrays, ECG's etc:
  • Only 1 adult (age18 or older) can accompany the patient. No others will be allowed.
  • Both the patient and the adult accompanying them will be screened -- either at the parking ramp or at the main entrance. There are no exceptions to the screening

Please note: Latex balloons cannot be brought into the hospital because they present an allergy risk to some people. Mylar balloons are acceptable.

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.

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

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
  • diarrhea, nausea, vomiting
  • smell/taste changes
  • headache
  • runny nose
  • congestion
  • fatigue
  • muscle/body aches
  • chills

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 

IDPH Summary of Enhanced Public Health Measures


10 things you can do to manage your health at home | Spanish version

What can I do if I have been exposed to COVID-19

COVID resources for vulnerable populations

COVID Recovery Iowa is here to help

Stress Relief Resources from Mercy Iowa City and Rural Health & Safety of Eastern Iowa

Dealing with anxiety and fear