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Joint effort response regarding coronavirus

Note: The following information was crafted by the Respiratory Illness Prevention Task Force, a joint effort between the Sisters of Providence and Providence Health Care.

We know some of you may be feeling concerned about the potential impacts of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) to our Providence community. We are also praying for all those in places and countries where the impacts are already deeply felt.

In this early stage of our planning, our advice to the entire Providence community is to follow protocols developed for prevention of seasonal flu and the common cold:

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds (sing Happy Birthday twice), including when leaving crowded spaces such as public transportation and large meetings. If soap and water is not available, then hand sanitizer should be used.
  • Stay home if you are sick. You should stay home the entire time you are sick – from the time you begin to feel a sore throat or aches/headache or any other early symptom, until you are reasonably sure that you are no longer contagious.
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes and mouth.
  • Cough into your elbow instead of your hands.
  • Disinfect surfaces.

Additionally, we have begun to plan for how the spread of the coronavirus might impact our community. Our planning is focused on three areas:

  1. Providence Health Care;
  2. State of Emergency preparations; and
  3. Travel and Large Gatherings.

Providence Health Care

Providence Health Care is reviewing its plans to handle the unlikely event of an outbreak, including lockdown procedures. While the residents of Providence Health Care look forward to your visits, we would ask you not to visit if you are sick. Many of our residents are immunocompromised, making them especially susceptible to illness.

State of Emergency Preparations

Right now, seasonal flu is the most significant risk to health in the United States. However, if you feel worried about coronavirus and would like to prepare, one recommendation is to make sure that you have about two weeks of shelf-stable food and about a month’s supply of any prescription medications, in addition to disinfecting materials in your home.

For our staff at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, at the moment, official guidelines for most of the United States are not recommending social distancing or working from home. However, if you are feeling unwell or concerned, working from home is an option for some staff members. Please discuss with your supervisor.


We are paying close attention to the map of the spread of the virus and its potential impact on upcoming travel, especially international travel. We are also keeping track of large, upcoming gatherings.  

Reliable Sources

 The following are some sources of information related to COVID-19; many are updated daily:

 World Health Organization

 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 U.S. Department of State

Travel Guard and International SOS

Indiana Department of Health

We will adjust these preliminary plans as the situation evolves, doing our best to keep you updated. We will continue to keep the Providence community and the world in our prayers.


The PHC and SP Respiratory Illness Prevention Task Force:

Sister Barbara Battista, Beth Collins, Terry Jacobsen, Sister Lisa Stallings, Sister Dawn Tomaszewski, Diane Weidenbenner and Kim Wright.

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Sisters of Providence

The Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, are a congregation of Roman Catholic women religious (sisters) who minister throughout the United States and Taiwan. Saint Mother Theodore Guerin founded the Sisters of Providence in 1840. The congregation has a mission of being God's Providence in the world by committing to performing works of love, mercy and justice in service among God's people.

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