Preparing for COVID-19

Please take the time to read this. We want to focus attention on coronavirus/COVID-19. There is no reason to panic and every reason to begin to make preparations for what could be a challenging period ahead. It is likely but not certain that the virus will begin spreading widely in the United States.

In case this happens, we would like to make a few changes now.

First, Hickory is part of the larger healthcare system. Our role is to take care of everything that is not COVID-19. Mary Rutan Hospital will be spearheading the effort to manage the response to COVID-19 while Hickory’s role will be to take care of everything else (stitches, labs, chronic disease management, and other sorts of illness.) We are still your first point of contact, so feel free to call-in and we will do all that we can to help you find the resources you need and navigate the system.

Here are the changes, beginning immediately, that will help us serve you quickly and safely:

  1. Do not just walk-in to the office. Beginning immediately, please call ahead. We do not want to expose you or other vulnerable patients to the virus.
  2. You may call us for any reason, but please do not call repeatedly or leave multiple messages with for the same reason. Leave a specific message with whomever you get on the phone or on the answering service and we will respond appropriately and in a timely manner. Requiring a specific member of the staff and leaving repeated messages slows care for you and for other patients.
  3. If you have a cough and/or fever, we have every reason to believe that it is still the same viral stuff that has been going around for months. With that said, there is rarely a benefit to antibiotics or other prescription medications before 10-14 days. Please rest, get plenty of fluids, use ibuprofen or acetaminophen as needed, and use honey for cough. If you have trouble breathing, high fevers, or other concerns, do let us know.
  4. To ensure that we are taking the best possible care of our patients Hickory will immediately stop accepting new patients into the practice until the situation around COVID-19 resolves. If family members of current patients or employees of partner businesses would like to join, we will have a priority waiting list and admit patients as we are able.

If our medical staff is exposed to COVID-19, we must immediately close for 14 days, so again, please call in advance so that we can avoid a situation where we are unable to care for you and our other patients. We need your honesty. If you fear that you have been exposed to someone with the virus let us know. Even if it seems unusual, please answer questions asked by a nurse or physician as completely and honestly as possible.

When the virus does come to our community, it is likely that most of us will experience mild symptoms and recover fully even if we are infected. This is not something that should cause fear, but it is important that we be careful and thoughtful to protect the most vulnerable among us. We are taking these steps out of an abundance of caution to ensure that we are in the best possible position to serve you through whatever lies ahead.

If you have further questions, comments, or suggestions, don’t hesitate to give Rudi a call (937-404-2489) or send him an email (

We are grateful for the chance to serve you and appreciate your help during this time.