Tips: Traveling to Mayo to get medical care safely during COVID-19

Medical needs don’t go dormant and wait for the current pandemic to pass. People still need cancer treatment, heart surgery, diagnostic procedures, joint replacements, lung assessments, wound care and compassionate care. Some medical needs can be met through telemedicine, but certainly not everything.

Compassionate care at Mayo Clinic COVID-19

Postponing nonessential appointments and surgeries in March allowed time to increase Mayo Clinic’s COVID-19 testing capabilities. Mayo Clinic hospital and intensive care capacity meets and exceeds the current projected needs for COVID-19 patients, due to a revised, smaller expected COVID-19 peak. With these important favorable developments, Mayo Clinic is ready to safely treat patients whose care was delayed, in adherence with federal and state executive orders and guidance. Mayo is also welcoming new patients, and able to offer more phone and video visits to new and established patients. Read more about the new precautions Mayo added to minimize risk of COVID-19 transmission

What can you do to stay safe when:

  • Going to the hospital for appointments
  • Traveling to a hospital out of your local area
  • Staying at a hotel
  • Getting food

What are your tips?

@marvinjsturing

@colleenyoung At this time I have had all my treatment at my local hospital – Sanford in Sioux Falls SD. In the last 8 weeks I have been involved with radiation, ER, I have been admitted to the hospital, the outpatient care center (infusion center), several testing areas, had a tunnel cath put in and have been in several doctors offices in various buildings. All employees wear masks. About 70% of patients wear masks. There are shields in front of all check in desks. I use hand sanitizer everytime I enter a building and everytime I leave. I don't touch any of the door handles. I could take my mask off when I was in my hospital room, but any time they took me out into the hallway to go for a test, I needed to wear my mask. I haven't had to travel, stay in hotels or eat out yet. I am scheduled to go to Rochester in July. We are trying to figure out how to deal with that.

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@marvinjsturing, It is good to hear that your hospital is taking good care of you. I have only had to have my routine labs drawn during this coronavirus. I was very pleased with how it was handled.
I am scheduled for mid June appointment in Rochester. I am completely confident that Mayo is taking every precaution to make it safe for us. However it is the 750 mile distance from my home to Rochester that has me concerned. I'm not sure how to judge the safety of lodging or restaurants along the way.
I'll let you know how it goes for us although we are coming from the other direction and starting in Kentucky.
.

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@fiesty76 There you are my girl. Thanks for liking my post. You are a sweety.

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@mamacita

We just got my husband home from the hospital. He had been there since March 9th. MRSA and eventually two heart surgeries, which were likely caused by the MRSA, has left him sixty five pounds lighter, and a whole lot grateful.

I wear a mask whenever I forage for food or medicine. We will have his first heart doctor appointment in one more week. We will have hand sanitizer with us and will wear our masks throughout the process. We have some gloves, but we don't have a steady supply. They are hard to come by. So, I will save them for the home health procedures they have taught me to do.

For deliveries, everyone is instructed to place items on our front porch. I wear a mask even to go to the mailbox. I cannot control how close a neighbor will come up to me. Church is online. Prayer chains connect us daily. The non profit I work for continues to serve the community in spite of restrictions. Safely, of course.

We may have to do all of this for a very long time. Even when things open up, some ways of doing things may be forever changed.

I had to give my husband his antibiotic infusion today. I was scared to death. But because of Covid19, home health has to restrict what they can do.

Love and hugs to all our friends at Mayo Clinic Connect! We can do this. We are resilient.
And we are better together.
Love and light,
Mamacita Jane

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Hi @mamacita What is MRSA? I'm suppose to have a swab done for it since I'm having surgery at Mayo.
Bless you and your husband. You have been through a lot. This Covid-19 had really thrown everybody for a loop, if you know what I mean and then having to deal with health problems on top of it.
I liked what you said though, that we are resilient and we are better together. Love to you, Mamacita Jane

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@sueinmn

We just made a 1500 mile 3 day trip between our winter and summer homes. To say I was anxious beforehand would be an understatement!
Here are some things we did:
– Called and asked about precautions being taken before reserving our hotel rooms.
– Stocked up on masks (reuseable ones), sanitizing wipes (including several in baggies for our pockets-see below) and pet waste bags (for touching gas pumps.)
– Planned our route to allow stops at rest areas (less people than truck stops) when possible.
– Carried all our own food and beverages & disposable tableware for the 3 day trip, including evening meals to warm up in the hotel. Sanitized refrig and microwave before using. We elected not to try takeout because we had no idea what restaurants would be available.
– Used sanitizer wipes thoroughly in all restrooms and hotel rooms and on surfaces we touch in the car after each stop.
– Wore masks in all rest/truck stops, hotels common areas and elevators.
– Showered and washed our hair before going to bed, and changed all outer clothes each day. Washed and dried all masks each evening.
– Used our own pillows and blankets.

Here are some things we observed:
– Most people were not wearing masks, but many tried to maintain distance, especially retail workers and truck drivers, who seemed aware that the extra exposure to people put them at risk.
– Self-serve areas were mainly closed in truck stops and hotels, a single employee poured coffee, bottled drinks were sold, hotel employees gave out brown bag breakfasts of packaged items in lieu of a buffet.
– Hotels had shields at their desk, or set out paperwork a safe distance from the employee, they were busy sanitizing surfaces between customers.
– Less traffic, except trucks.

So, travel is possible, just not very much fun right now. 7 days later, we survived the trip nicely, and are in day 7 of our self-quarantine, feeling just fine, thank you.

Next week, we will both be heading (locally) to rescheduled lab and medical appointments. I am anxiously hoping thumb repair surgery is in my near future, so I'll be waiting to hear about anyone else's experience in clinic/same day surgery.
Sue

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Thank you so much for this I will be making a 1300mi trip. Leaving to settle at our summer home for a year. Very helpful. I’ll be with another person albeit a poor driver and perhaps drive straight through and not do the hotel stop. Anything else you can add please do.

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I drove from North Carolina to MN with my dog at end of March and here are a few things I did to keep safe on road:

– I packed a bag similar to a diaper bag and had essentials in it: toilet paper, hand sanitizer, disinfect wipes, baby wipes, gloves, paper towels, mask, Kleenex, etc….
– Packed food and water to have along the trip. Did buy some food and coffee at drive thru, but tried to avoid when possible.
– I used gloves when filling up on gas.
– Used credit cards only, avoid handling money.
– Wore mask when ever left car.
– After using rest room and wash hands, would take couple extra paper towels and use to open any doors on way out.
– Used hand sanitizer when ever I got back into car and before took off mask.

Every state was different as far as what was open.

I did stay one night a hotel. I only took into room what was absolutely necessary for night.

Safe travels

Laurie

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@lilypaws

Hi @mamacita What is MRSA? I'm suppose to have a swab done for it since I'm having surgery at Mayo.
Bless you and your husband. You have been through a lot. This Covid-19 had really thrown everybody for a loop, if you know what I mean and then having to deal with health problems on top of it.
I liked what you said though, that we are resilient and we are better together. Love to you, Mamacita Jane

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Hi @lilypaws MRSA, also known as staph, is a bacterial infection. It's highly contagious, so surgeons will generally asked for a swab prior to surgery so they don't risk spreading it to the inner parts of your body when you are in surgery. I attached Mayo's info page on the infection here so you could read more about it. Hope this helps!
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mrsa/symptoms-causes/syc-20375336

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@roch

I drove from North Carolina to MN with my dog at end of March and here are a few things I did to keep safe on road:

– I packed a bag similar to a diaper bag and had essentials in it: toilet paper, hand sanitizer, disinfect wipes, baby wipes, gloves, paper towels, mask, Kleenex, etc….
– Packed food and water to have along the trip. Did buy some food and coffee at drive thru, but tried to avoid when possible.
– I used gloves when filling up on gas.
– Used credit cards only, avoid handling money.
– Wore mask when ever left car.
– After using rest room and wash hands, would take couple extra paper towels and use to open any doors on way out.
– Used hand sanitizer when ever I got back into car and before took off mask.

Every state was different as far as what was open.

I did stay one night a hotel. I only took into room what was absolutely necessary for night.

Safe travels

Laurie

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Really helpful this travel information. Once on the road was it easier than anticipated? Or less stressful than anticipated?

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@elizaba ,
To answer you question if easier then anticipated; it was actually easier then expected. There was less traffic on interstate, no problem finding gas stations open and the states I was in still had rest stops open. It was March so probably less traffic even without virus. I did not make hotel reservations in advance because not sure how many miles I was going to drive in a day. When decided it was time to stop for night, just had to find one that excepted dogs. I already had list of possible hotels in cities along the route. Hotels were not busy so was not worried.

Laurie

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Laurie thanks so much for your response. So helpful. Heading towards WI from the east mainly through Penn. So who knows. Happy you and your dog made it there w/o issues. Elizabeth

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@roch

I drove from North Carolina to MN with my dog at end of March and here are a few things I did to keep safe on road:

– I packed a bag similar to a diaper bag and had essentials in it: toilet paper, hand sanitizer, disinfect wipes, baby wipes, gloves, paper towels, mask, Kleenex, etc….
– Packed food and water to have along the trip. Did buy some food and coffee at drive thru, but tried to avoid when possible.
– I used gloves when filling up on gas.
– Used credit cards only, avoid handling money.
– Wore mask when ever left car.
– After using rest room and wash hands, would take couple extra paper towels and use to open any doors on way out.
– Used hand sanitizer when ever I got back into car and before took off mask.

Every state was different as far as what was open.

I did stay one night a hotel. I only took into room what was absolutely necessary for night.

Safe travels

Laurie

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Good points. If one has to stay in a motel I would look for an outside access instead of going inside.
Where in Minnesota?

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@roch

I drove from North Carolina to MN with my dog at end of March and here are a few things I did to keep safe on road:

– I packed a bag similar to a diaper bag and had essentials in it: toilet paper, hand sanitizer, disinfect wipes, baby wipes, gloves, paper towels, mask, Kleenex, etc….
– Packed food and water to have along the trip. Did buy some food and coffee at drive thru, but tried to avoid when possible.
– I used gloves when filling up on gas.
– Used credit cards only, avoid handling money.
– Wore mask when ever left car.
– After using rest room and wash hands, would take couple extra paper towels and use to open any doors on way out.
– Used hand sanitizer when ever I got back into car and before took off mask.

Every state was different as far as what was open.

I did stay one night a hotel. I only took into room what was absolutely necessary for night.

Safe travels

Laurie

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@roch, Laurie, these are excellent tips for a driving trip. I'll forward them to my grands who are planning a drive soon to his parents' with their little dog. They live in PA. and I'm sure available conveniences differ from state-to-state. However, these are great regardless of the areas traveled. Thank you for sharing them!

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@jerrynord

Good points. If one has to stay in a motel I would look for an outside access instead of going inside.
Where in Minnesota?

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another good idea. Wisc is my destination

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