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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Updates

The CDC is providing every home in the U.S. with 4 free at home COVID-19 tests. They have tests for every residential address in the U.S. Please check back tomorrow if you run into any unexpected issues. Please visit this link to the CDC website for more information and to place your order:

The White House has opened a hotline for those who are unable to order their 4 free COVID-19 tests online. Contact: 1-800-232-0233

COVID-19 Home Self-Test Guidance

With the recent increase in home usage COVID-19 test kit distribution and testing, it’s important to understand what to do with your results, as well as what to do if you’re not feeling well.

A positive test result or seeking care for COVID-19 symptoms, should begin with a phone call to your primary care physician, unless you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency. It is also important to know when to seek urgent care and when to seek emergency care.

The guidance below provides important information that may help you understand what to do after you receive your test results, and the level of care that’s right for you.

When Should I Self-Test Test for COVID-19
Self-Testing / CDC

Consider self-testing if:

  • You have COVID-19 symptoms
  • You have been exposed or potentially exposed to someone with COVID-19
  • Before attending an indoor gathering (especially important before gathering with unvaccinated children or older individuals, those who are immunocompromised or at risk of severe disease.

Full guidance found here:

What Should I Do If My Result Is Positive

A positive test result indicates that you likely have a current infection, and should isolate and inform:

Full guidance found here:

What Should I Do If My Result Is Negative

A negative self-test result means the test did not detect the virus and you may not have an infection, BUT it does not rule out infection.  Repeating tests within a few days with at least 24 hrs. Between will increase the confidence you are not infected.
Full guidance found here:

When To Seek Emergency Care Due To COVID-19

Seek emergency care if you are experiencing severe symptoms. Severe symptoms may include, but are not limited to::

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain/pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Pale, gray or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds 

Call your doctor for any symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.


When To Seek Urgent Care Due To COVID-19

  • You are directed by your primary care physician
  • You are experiencing urgent symptoms that are not life-threatening


Heywood Healthcare is closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 (2019 Novel Coronavirus) and is coordinating with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state public health officials to take every precaution to prepare us to provide safe care to all of our patients,including those who may present with COVID-19 symptoms.

COVID-19 Precautions at Heywood Healthcare

Visitor Expectations and Policy

    • Visitor Expectations
      Visitation of patients in the hospital is a privilege and we expect every person entering our facilities to uphold our health and safety requirements. Visitors who fail to or refuse to comply with these requirements may be asked to leave.

      Face Masks
      Regardless of vaccination status, all visitors must always wear a facility approved face mask while in the facility.

      • Cloth masks, bandanas and cloth coverings are not allowed.
      • Visitors must continue to wear a face mask while in the patient's room.

      Hand Hygiene
      Visitors should sanitize their hands upon entering the facility and every time they enter or leave a patient's room.

      General Provisions
      Visitors must be 18 years of age or older. Visitors age 17 and under may be permitted to visit under special circumstances and, if permitted, must be accompanied by an adult.

      • Visitors should remain in the patient's room for the entire visit.
      • Visitors should socially distance in patient rooms.

      Food and Drink
      Food and drink may not be consumed in public areas, waiting areas, waiting rooms or in the Emergency Department. Facility approved face masks must be worn at all times in these areas.

      Food and drink may not be consumed in patient rooms on inpatient units if the patient is on Transmission based Precautions for known or suspected communicable disease.

      Food and drink may be consumed in non-precaution patient rooms on inpatient units as follows:

      • Food and drink are for personal consumption only. Visitors may not bring in food or drinks for patients without approval of the healthcare team.
      • Visitors may remove their face mask only when eating or drinking. Face mask to be put back on as soon as they are finished.
      • Visitors should be at least 6 feet away from the patient while eating or drinking.
      • Visitors must put their face mask on anytime a healthcare worker enters the patient room.

      Visitor and Caregiver Policy

      The Heywood Healthcare Visitor and Caregiver policy has been updated effective Monday, October 31, 2022
      This policy applies to all Heywood Healthcare locations including Athol Hospital, Heywood Hospital, Quabbin Retreat, Heywood Medical Group and satellite offices and departments.

      The health and safety of our patients, visitors, employees, and our communities remains our top priority. In line with guidance issued by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, our visitor policies have been updated to reflect the limitations that the COVID-19 pandemic has created. We continue to closely monitor the levels of COVID-19 in our community, assessing and revising this policy as needed in response to pandemic circumstances.


      A caregiver is a support person whose presence is required for physical, cognitive, or other support associated with the patient's health care and/or necessary to navigate to the appointment. No minors are permitted as caregivers. Examples of caregivers include support for cognitively impaired or physically challenged patients, transportation assistance for sedated outpatients, and a parent or guardian for patients who are minors.

      Visiting Hours
      Visiting hours are 11:00 am to 7:00 pm, 7 days per week.

      Birth partners, Attorneys of patients, and Caregivers may be present at any time unless restricted due to safety or health reasons. These individuals are support persons and are not considered a visitor.

      Virtual Visits for hospitalized patients

      We encourage family members and friends to use their telephone or video calls to stay in touch with their loved ones. For patients who may not have a device or need help connecting, our inpatient staff can facilitate virtual visits for you.

      COVID-19 Positive Patients / Patients Under Investigation

      No visitors are allowed for COVID-19 positive patients or for those under investigation for COVID-19 infection. Special exceptions may be made at the discretion of the patient care team.

      Adult inpatients

       2 healthy adult visitors at a time.
      • Visitors may rotate.
      • Visitors 17 and under by exception only.

      Pediatric inpatients

      • 2 healthy adult visitors at a time.
      • Visitors may rotate.
      • Parents or guardians may visit outside of normal visiting hours.
      • Visitors 17 and under by exception only.

      Labor and delivery patients

       2 healthy adult support persons may stay with the patient during active labor.
      • Support persons should remain with the patient and may not rotate out.

      Maternity/Postpartum patients

      • 2 healthy adults at a time.
      • 1 healthy adult support person may stay with the patient overnight before and after birth.
      • Siblings aged 2 to 17 years old may visit if they are with an adult.
      • Children under the age of 2 years may not visit.

      Outpatient appointments

      • Adult Patients: 1 healthy adult visitor, support person or caregiver may accompany an adult to an outpatient appointment.
      • Pediatric Patients: 2 healthy parents or guardians may accompany a pediatric patient to an outpatient appointment.
      • We continue to encourage those who can attend outpatient appointments on their own.
      • Visitors 17 and under by exception only.

      Perioperative appointments or procedures

      • Adult Patients: 1 healthy adult visitor, support person or caregiver may accompany an adult.
      • Pediatric Patients: 2 healthy parents or guardians may accompany a pediatric patient.
      • We continue to encourage those who can attend outpatient appointments on their own.
      • Visitors 17 and under by exception only.
      • Visitor, support person or caregiver may be asked to leave once patient has been moved out of the pre-surgical area.
      • Visitor, support person or caregiver will be contacted by a member of the care team to return once patient is in the recovery area.

      Emergency Department (ED) visitors

      • Adult Patients1 healthy visitor, support person or caregiver at a time.
      • Pediatric Patients2 healthy parents or guardians at a time
      • These visitors can rotate.
      • Visitors 17 and under by exception only.

      Please note: There may be times when our waiting area in the ED becomes too crowded to remain safe. When this occurs, anyone escorting patients may be asked to wait in their car until the patient gets to their room or the ED is less crowded.

      The determination of visitor eligibility and the number of allowed visitors will be made by the emergency provider, charge nurse, and primary nurse.

      End of Life Care or Comfort Care

      Decisions about visitation and number of visitors allowed will be made collaboratively with the patient, the clinical care team, unit leadership, and a patient’s loved ones, as appropriate, on a case-by-case basis.

Click here to see tips on ways to keep in touch with your loved ones who are in the hospital.

  • All support groups, classes, club meetings, etc. held on Heywood Healthcare campuses are suspended indefinitely. Some groups and classes continue to meet virtually.
  • The Life Center is closed to the public until further notice.
  • All non-essential personnel, including students and interns, are temporarily restricted from Heywood Hospital, Athol Hospital, and all Heywood Medical Group locations.

Youth/Family Support:

  • Our Tele-Behavioral Health services are continuing. If your school is interested in participating, please contact Morgan Ban-Draoi at 978-724-0010.
  • Visit the "Community Support & Self Care" tab for resources for keeping you and your family safe during this pandemic.

Please continue to refer to Heywood Healthcare’s websites and social media platforms for the most up to date information.

  • The South Entrance is currently Closed. 
  • The entrances available at Athol Hospital is the Main Entrance and Emergency Department Entrance. The Emergency Department is the only entrance is available at night.