Caring for Patients and Health Care Workers During COVID-19

As the scope and risks of the COVID-19 pandemic become apparent, the faculty and staff who provide cardiovascular services are working tirelessly with Banner Health leadership to provide necessary care as safely as possible for patients and health care workers. As of now, providers are evaluating clinic schedules to see if patients must be seen in person, whether they safely can be rescheduled for visits at a less risky future time, or receive needed care over the phone or via video conference link. 

“Cardiovascular disease remains largely a disease of aging, and so most of the patients we see are considered high risk – over age 65 with heart disease. We do not want to expose anyone unnecessarily to COVID-19.  Only if the need for face-to-face medical attention is great would we recommend such persons leave their homes and come to one of our outpatient locations,” said Nancy K. Sweitzer, MD, PhD, director of the University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center and chief of cardiology at the College of Medicine – Tucson. “In the absence of widespread testing for the virus, it should be assumed that significant risk of exposure exists wherever people gather, particularly in a hospital or clinic setting.”

The Cardiovascular Services team is contacting patients at this time. If you have questions or concerns, please call 520-694-3278 (520-My-Heart).

You are high risk if you have:

  • Age over 65
  • Lung disease
  • Heart disease
  • Impaired immune function
  • Cancer undergoing chemotherapy
  • Organ Transplant
  • Diabetes

if you are due for a well-check or follow-up care and you are doing well, please plan to reschedule as far into the future as you feel safe. Please call to discuss medication refills if needed: 520-694-3278 (520-My-Heart).

For more COVID-19 information visit the CDC website for the latest updates. 

The American College of Cardiology offers additional guidance for staying healthy if you have heart disease.

Follow CDC recommendations to prevent COVID-19 infection. The virus is thought to spread from person to person among individuals within 6 feet of one another after someone with the virus sneezes or coughs (droplet transmission). Defensive steps everyone can take include:

  • Stay home and avoid people. Practice self isolation – avoid any gatherings. Leave your home only for activities, such as a walk outside or essential grocery shopping. Stay at least 6 feet away from others. Better yet, order home delivery or ask family or friends to leave items at your door.
  • Use hand sanitizer or wash hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cover your mouth when you cough – even better, use the inside of your elbow.
  • Cover your nose when you sneeze or – even better, use the inside of your elbow.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean surfaces touched often like doorknobs, handles, steering wheels, or light switches with a disinfectant to remove the virus.
  • If you believe you have been exposed to the virus, complete social isolation to reduce risk of any transmission is recommended. 

Ask About Telehealth (Remote/Virtual) Visits

If you feel you need a visit with a doctor, it is now an option to substitute a telehealth visit for an in-person medical visit. This limits contact with others who may be infected. Given the current strain on the health system, your doctor of choice might not be available to cover a scheduled telehealth visit. You need to be open to another physician covering a telehealth appointment. To schedule a telehealth visit with Sarver Heart Center cardiologists, call 520-694-3278 (520-My-Heart).