What You Need to Know About the Coronavirus

New Drive-Up Testing Location

Updated on July 14, 2020

All patients who receive an order for a nasopharyngeal swab COVID-19 test from their provider should report to our new drive-up testing location at 5420 Milan Rd. in front of Walmart. The drive-up location is right around the corner from Corporate Health and Urgent Care. Please park on the East side of the building that faces Walmart, call the number listed on the sign and wait for a member of our care team to assist you.

In order to schedule a drive-up test, patients must have a doctors order and call centralized scheduling at 41-557-7840.

COVID-19 Antibody Testing

Updated on June 29, 2020

Firelands Regional Health System is offering antibody testing to the community without a doctors order. Pre-registration will be required. Here are the details:

  • Where: Firelands Regional Medical Center Main Campus Laboratory - check in with the front desk
  • When: Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. until 7:30 p.m.
  • Cost: $55 for self-pay; $0* with insurance
  • Appointments: call 419-557-7840. Pre-payment is required.

Why do I need an antibody test? Antibodies develop when the immune system responds to a germ, usually a virus or bacteria. There are many types of antibodies. The specific antibody test for COVID-19 looks for the presence of an antibody named IgG, which normally develops 3 to 4 weeks after infection. Antibody testing is used to determine the presence of a past infection. An anti-body test is not used to diagnose the presence of active COVID-19 infection.

*Insurance costs are based on carrier terms and are subject to change without notice.

Visitor Guidelines

Updated on June 15, 2020

As our communities’ experience with the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, our visitor policy has been updated to allow some additional flexibility for patients. The policy change has been carefully written to provide additional visitation opportunities while maintaining an awareness that the disease is still in our community and we need to continue to be diligent to assure safety for our patients, staff members, and the community.

  • Visitation time will continue to follows our routine visiting hours
  • Visitors who are ill, have a fever, or a confirmed case of COVID-19 may not visit
  • Patients may select a designated support person upon arrival to the medical center. This will be recorded in the medical record
  • We ask support visitors to enter the medical center through the main entrance and go through the temperature station.
  • Designated support visitors will then proceed to the main desk and receive an armband indicating their visitor status

Find the full list of our safety measures at firelands.com/feelsafe.

Return to Between the Lines

Updated on April 29, 2020

The Firelands' executive team reappeared on Sandusky Register's Between the Lines today to discuss the current outlook on COVID-19. Topics of discussion include: resuming elective procedures, delays in necessary healthcare and testing.

Firelands Launches On-Site Testing

Updated on April 15, 2020

Firelands Regional Health System is pleased to announce the launch of on-site COVID-19 specimen testing within its laboratory department as of April 13. Testing supplies are initially limited due to the very recent release of the test by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Firelands continues to collaborate with the Cleveland Clinic, the University of Toledo Medical Center, the Ohio Department of Health, as well as commercial reference laboratories, to ensure timely results for our patients. The health system’s hope is to increase internal testing capabilities as the manufacturer increases their ability to provide testing supplies. Firelands Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Scott Campbell, MD, FACEP, mentioned, “The test is most useful when it is positive and we can make a definitive diagnosis.”

The test, run on a BD MAX System manufactured by Becton, Dickinson and Company, was granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA as of April 3. The test system allows Firelands access to patient results within hours of collecting a specimen. The Becton, Dickinson and Company test is based on the same viral RNA targeting sequences and real-time PCR detection method as the test that was developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“It's important to note,” Dr. Campbell said, “that even if a patient tests negative, we must be aware that they could still possibly have the disease. Trends in COVID-19 hot-spots show that the false-negative rate is somewhere between 15 and 20 percent. If we tested 100 patients with the disease, up to 20 of those may test negative but still actually have the disease. These numbers vary between the different testing models across the country.” A false-negative is a test that comes back with negative results, yet the patient may actually have the disease. Dr. Campbell advises caution with the team when reviewing test results during all phases of the disease. “Due to testing supplies,” he noted “we still need to be judicious as to how we utilize this testing. The community should be aware that a negative test result does not rule out COVID-19 and should not be used as the sole basis for treatment or patient management decisions.”

Firelands continues to research other COVID-19 testing methods such as antibody tests, as well as assessing the availability for convalescent plasma for treating our patients. The goal is to be able to bring these tests and therapies to our community soon. Drive-through testing continues at Firelands Main Campus. Patients must receive a provider order and schedule an appointment with centralized scheduling to be eligible for a drive-through test.

Support Our Fight Against COVID-19

Updated on April 10, 2020

Many organizations have reached out in support Firelands fight against COVID-19. From the health system, we are extremely grateful for all who have helped support us thus far. If you wish to contribute monetary, food or supply donations, please visit firelands.com/covid19support. Thank you! We will weather this storm. We're in this together.

Firelands on Between the Lines.

Updated on March 18, 2020

Take a moment during your day of social distancing to hear a message from our Chief Executive Officer, Jeremy Normington-Slay and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Scott Campbell on the Sandusky Register's Between the Lines.


Updated on March 4, 2020

Since our previous blog update, the new strain of coronavirus was fairly new and didn’t have a name yet. Now known as COVID-19, the disease continues to spread, however, the health risk to the American public is considered low. There are currently no confirmed cases in Ohio and the Erie County Health Department is continuing to keep a close eye on our region.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent the spread of COVID-19. That means it is very important to help prevent the spread of disease. Overall, hand washing is the most important step you can take. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer and water if soap and water are unavailable. It also helps to disinfect areas like doorknobs, keyboards, phones, work surfaces that are being used by multiple people.

Keep these other tips in mind for prevention: avoid close contact with people who are sick; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth; stay home when you are sick; cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

Firelands Regional Medical Center’s Hospital Incident Command (HICS) remains in effect. Our team meets regularly to discuss our initiatives in order to remain diligent. 

All patients coming into Firelands for treatment are asked about recent international travel within the past 28 days. If a patient answers yes and are showing signs of fever and lower respiratory tract infection, they will be asked to put on a mask, sanitize their hands immediately and placed into a negative air pressure room. From there they will be evaluated further for testing.

For up-to-date and trusted information, visit the Erie County Health Department website at eriecohealthohio.org.

What is a coronavirus?

Updated on January 29, 2020

It’s been all over the news the past few days, a novel virus (novel meaning new) outbreak has been detected in China and is now presenting in patients throughout the world as a result of travel. This coronavirus, labeled 2019-nCoV, is a new strain of what has been identified within a known category of very common viruses. But what exactly is a coronavirus?

According to MedlinePlus, a coronavirus is a kind of common virus that causes an infection in your nose, sinuses, or upper throat. Most people get infected with human coronaviruses at some time in their life. One type of coronavirus that is well known to all of us is the common cold. While most coronaviruses are not dangerous, some types are severe, such as the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2013.


The new strain of the 2019-nCoV virus was recently detected in China, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organizations are just beginning to understand it. 

First, the virus is transmitted from person-to-person through respiratory secretions, however we have not seen this in the United States. It has an incubation period of 2 to 14 days and can present as a very mild illness up to and including severe illness, which can result in death. The virus, first found in Wuhan City, China, has a confirmed case count of 4600+ patients and 106 deaths in China. Five travelers with confirmed cases are currently being treated within the United States, including Washington, Illinois, California, and Arizona states.

Investigations are being conducted in 26 US states, including Ohio, with 73+ patients still being evaluated with testing. The CDC has identified the spread of this virus could be a serious public health threat but with the immediate health risk being low at this time.

According to the Erie County Health Department, the risk to Erie County residents remains low, and no additional precautions or restrictions are recommended at this time. Residents should continue normal activities including school, sporting events, and social engagements. However, it is currently influenza season so standard precautions should be taken such as washing hands, practicing proper cough etiquette (coughing into your elbow), and staying home if you are feeling ill.

People who have traveled to China or have had close contact with someone who has traveled to China AND have fever, cough, and shortness of breath should call their primary care provider or the Erie County Community Health Center (419-626-5623 ext. 174) immediately for more guidance. 

What is Firelands Regional Medical Center doing?

The hospital has a group of leaders who are assigned to monitor the current outbreak situation daily. This group is called the hospital incident command system, which allows us to communicate all information to our staff in real-time as it becomes available.

Recent travel history has been part of our admission assessment for the last several years. Patients with this travel or contact history who present with symptoms including cough, fever, difficulty breathing, etc. (signs of respiratory infection) will be considered at risk for 2019-nCoV. The patient will be asked to mask, sanitize their hands, and will be placed in a negative air pressure room. Staff members will implement STANDARD, CONTACT, DROPLET, and AIRBORNE precautions to render care to the patient, as we continue to support the patient’s health care needs.

The medical center will continue working very closely with the Erie County Health Department to coordinate the processes for reporting and specimen management.

For accurate and up-to-date information on the 2019 novel Coronavirus, visit the Erie County Health Department website at www.eriecohealthohio.com. For additional questions, contact the Erie County Health Commissioner, Peter Schade, at 419-626-5623 ext 112 or 419-656-2796.