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A Message to Our Community from Roxanna Gapstur, Ph.D, R.N.

March 18, 2020

WellSpan Health President and CEO confirms health system’s first COVID-19-positive patients, urges calm and unity


A Message to Our Community from Roxanna Gapstur, Ph.D, R.N.

Today and every day, WellSpan stands as a prepared and trusted partner for our friends and neighbors in Central PA – especially in times of uncertainty.

Confirmed positive COVID-19 cases are now present in our community. We face a pivotal point in our response to COVID-19, and together, we must slow the spread while remaining calm.

WellSpan has confirmed its first two patients with presumed positive results for the novel coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 illness. Although these are the first cases, they unfortunately will not be the last.

WellSpan has taken quick action to develop solutions for COVID-19 assessment and testing, while serving our communities and ensuring the safety of our physicians, advanced practice clinicians and team members. As a nurse and previous caregiver, I am incredibly proud of the tremendous dedication to serving our patients on the frontlines of this pandemic.

We’re committed to providing access to care for all. It’s why we’re removing barriers for care by going above and beyond the required legislation to provide online screening assessments and covering all out-of-pocket expenses for COVID-19 testing and treatment.

As a locally governed health system, this is WellSpan’s mission in action.

Please do your part to ensure the safety of our friends and neighbors, and yourself, as we respond together to COVID-19.

Remain vigilant and calm:

  • WellSpan began preparations early in response to the identification of COVID-19 in other countries. It is part of our mission to be prepared for potential crises in our communities.
  • WellSpan’s team of experts, including physicians and infectious disease specialists, have developed screening assessments and testing processes for our communities.
  • WellSpan is leading the region with our swift preparation and response and active partnership with healthcare systems, community organizations and elected officials.

Slow the spread:

  • If you are feeling sick, stay home. Minimizing exposure is the best line of defense.
  • You can help slow the spread by practicing social distancing (stay at least 6 feet away from others), washing your hands frequently and using good respiratory hygiene (cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when coughing or sneezing).
  • WellSpan has restricted visitation at our care locations as an additional precautionary step to protect the health of our patients and team members.

If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever with cough or shortness of breath:

  • Do not visit doctors’ offices, urgent care locations or hospital emergency departments, unless you are experiencing a serious health issue. If you are experiencing a healthcare emergency – such as heart attack, stroke or major traumatic injury – please call 911.
  • Take an online screening assessment or call for a phone assessment.
    • Use the Coronavirus Online Assessment Tool available at
    • Call your primary care provider. If you don’t have a primary care provider, you can call WellSpan’s Coronavirus Information Hotline toll-free at (855) 851-3641.
  • Following your screening, you may be directed to one of the WellSpan open air testing locations in our communities.

Be assured, as your trusted partner, we will meet this challenge head-on. And we will do it together as one community, united.

Learn more about WellSpan's response to COVID-19 at