Sarasota Memorial & COVID-19
Throughout the pandemic and as we move forward toward a “new normal,” our top priority remains providing safe, quality healthcare for our community. At all Sarasota Memorial locations, we are screening patients/visitors, enforcing our universal mask-wearing policy and following strict infection control measures, which include COVID-19 testing for preoperative patients, regardless of their vaccine status.
Help prevent the spread of COVID-19: Wear a mask in public, avoid large gatherings and stay at least 6 feet from people you don’t live with; wash your hands frequently; avoid touching your face; and get the COVID-19 vaccine when it's your turn. No one tool alone is going to stop the pandemic. (Click here for guidance on COVID-19 prevention for vaccinated people.)
Sarasota Memorial has instituted a mandatory, universal mask-wearing policy for all staff, providers, patients (over age 2) and visitors in its facilities. Masks will be provided upon entry to Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) for those who do not have one.
Limited Visitation Policy & Visitor Requirements
All SMH visitors must be 18 years or older and must wear a mask; upon entry, they must answer COVID-19 screening questions and will have their temperature checked. Below is the current visitation policy for the SMH main campus and the Sarasota Memorial Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.
Loved ones who cannot visit are encouraged to connect with patients via calls, texts and video calling apps like FaceTime and WhatsApp.
- Visitors are NOT permitted for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, with exceptions for some end-of-life situations.
- Hospital inpatients may have 2 visitors per day from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
- Critical Care patients may have 2 visitors per day from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
- Pediatrics and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) patients may have 2 parents/designated caregivers.
- Labor & Delivery patients may have 2 designated support people. In the event a mother is transferred to SMH, a certified doula or community midwife also will be permitted.
- Mother-Baby patients may have 2 designated support people.
- Emergency Care Center (ER) patients are allowed to have 1 visitor, who may accompany the patient to the emergency care treatment room or may wait in the hospital’s main lobby and use a cell phone to communicate with the patient.
- Patients in surgical, procedural and testing areas may each have 1 support person. The support person must remain on the first floor or in the designated waiting area.
- In-person visitation is currently not permitted at Bayside Center for Behavioral Health; staff will gladly assist with setting up virtual or by-phone visitations.
- Vendor visits require advance hospital approval.
Exceptions to this visitor policy may be made in certain extraordinary circumstances, including end-of-life situations.
Nursing & Rehabilitation Center Visitation Update
To ensure the continued safety of residents and staff, the Sarasota Memorial Nursing and Rehabilitation Center is supporting resident visitation by appointment only; social distancing and masks are required at all times. Call 941-917-1938 (8 am - 4:30 pm, Monday-Friday) to schedule a visit with a loved one at the center. For more information, call 941-917-4950.
Vaccines for COVID-19
Sarasota Memorial has vaccinated more than 16,000 people against COVID-19, including our own healthcare staff and active volunteers; local, non SMH-employed healthcare providers; and eligible community members. We will continue to work with state and public health officials, as well as local partners, to support community vaccination efforts. Click here for the latest on SMH's vaccination efforts.
The Department of Health, along with some retail pharmacies (Walgreens, Walmart, Publix, CVS, Winn-Dixie, etc.), are facilitating vaccinations for eligible community members in our area. For information on vaccination locations and opportunities: visit the Florida Department of Health website (click here) and the websites of the retail pharmacies; monitor local news media; and regularly check sarasotahealth.org. For assistance registering for vaccination through the DOH, call 941-861-VAXS (7 am to 7 pm, Monday-Friday).
For vaccine-related information from the federal government: Click here for info from the CDC; click here for info from the FDA.
COVID-19 Testing at SMH
Sarasota Memorial Hospital is not a community test site for COVID-19. Currently, the hospital only provides COVID-19 testing for admitted patients and those scheduled for surgery or other procedures.
Free community COVID-19 testing is available at several state-run locations in Sarasota County. For information about free testing at these sites, click here or call the Sarasota County coronavirus call center at 941-861-2883.
For people who have mild to moderate symptoms that do not require hospitalization, outpatient COVID-19 testing is available at Sarasota Memorial Urgent Care Centers for a fee. Click here for more information on COVID-19 testing at our urgent care center locations.
Monoclonal Antibody Therapy for COVID-19 Outpatients
Sarasota Memorial is among a number of hospitals allocated a limited supply of monoclonal antibody therapy for non-hospitalized patients who have been diagnosed with a mild-to-moderate case of COVID-19 within the past 10 days, and have a high risk for severe disease or hospitalization. SMH has a screening process to determine patient eligibility.
Referrals: To refer a patient, physicians may call the monoclonal antibody infusion referral line at 941-262-0135 (from 8 am - 4:30 pm, Monday - Friday). Physicians can leave a voicemail after hours with physician name, patient name, patient date of birth, date of positive test and best contact information for the patient. Click here to learn more.
COVID-19 Clinical Trials
SMH is participating in a multi-center trial of IC14, an anti-CD14 monoclonal antibody drug that researchers hope will reduce dangerous levels of inflammation in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Click here to learn more.
Convalescent Plasma Donations
Convalescent Plasma: Sarasota Memorial is using convalescent plasma transfusions to treat COVID-19 infections in our hospitalized patients. We encourage those who have tested positive for COVID-19 and fully recovered to contact SunCoast Blood Centers about making an appointment to make a plasma donation. Call 941-993-8119 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Potential donors must be symptom free for 14 to 28 days and must meet current blood donation protocols.
Do Not Delay Care
Is it safe to receive care at SMH, Urgent Care Centers and outpatient facilities?
Yes! At Sarasota Memorial Hospital, our ER, our Urgent Care Centers and all of our other outpatient facilities, we have many infection control and management measures in place to keep patients and staff safe. These include screening and intake processes to help ensure patient and staff safety. Please plan to keep all existing appointments at Sarasota Memorial outpatient facilities. Our top priority is safely providing high-quality care for our patients.
Is it safe to receive care at a First Physicians Group office?
Yes! While in-person office visits for illness or injury can be scheduled as needed, many First Physicians Group (FPG) practices also are using telemedicine (virtual visits) to treat patients who can be safely "seen" without an in-person evaluation. Strict infection prevention measures are being followed to ensure the offices can safely continue to care for patients. Patients whose conditions require in-person visits are screened, and both patient and staff must wear masks.
Think You Have COVID-19?
- If you have mild symptoms (fever of 100 or above, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, sore throat, chills, muscle pain, headache, new loss of taste or smell, extreme fatigue, diarrhea), call your healthcare provider or the Sarasota County COVID-19 Call Center (941-861-2883) as soon as possible, and before seeking care. Review your signs, symptoms and travel history thoroughly with them.
- If you have severe symptoms, or you have underlying conditions, such as a weakened immune system or chronic respiratory disease, call your family physician or the Sarasota County COVID-19 Call Center (941-861-2883) for guidance on how to seek care without exposing others.
- Call ahead before you visit any care center and let them know that you think you may have COVID-19.
- If you have had close contact (within 6 ft.) with someone confirmed to have COVID-19 and have symptoms, call your doctor right away. If you do not have a care provider, call the Sarasota County COVID-19 Call Center (941-861-2883). The CDC advises people who have no symptoms but believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19 to stay home and self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days after their last potential exposure.
For more information, contact the Sarasota County COVID-19 Call Center (941-861-2883) or the Florida Department of Health hotline at 866-779-6121 (24 hours a day).
* Page last updated April 5, 2021. COVID-19 information is continually evolving. For the most up-to-date info, also visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.