Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic


Patient and Staff Safety Is Priority No. 1

To protect our patients and staff, we have implemented many robust safeguards, including rapid, on-site COVID-19 testing for new patients coming into our residential and recovery housing sites.

In addition to testing, our safeguards include CDC-informed protocols for food safety, cleaning and disinfecting to ensure the highest level of infection prevention and control, sanitation and hygiene. As a healthcare organization that treats a population more vulnerable to COVID-19 complications, we also provide protective masks to patients and staff, and require their use in all appropriate settings.

Hazelden Betty Ford will remain vigilant, with patient and staff safety our top priority. That is what has allowed us to provide residential care continuously and safely through every turn of the pandemic, while also providing robust virtual services. And it is now enabling us to gradually resume in-person options for outpatient care, recovery retreats and more.

To get an initial assessment, learn about care options available in our various locations, or check on our latest visitor policies, call and talk to one of our access coordinators.

Hazelden Betty Ford's COVID-19 National Incident Command Team is led by medical professionals who consult with an infectious disease expert and routinely monitor information from the CDC, and state and local public health authorities. They guide our teams so we can stay focused on our patients and their families, as well our clients, customers and partners.

The vast majority of our staff have been vaccinated against COVID-19, and in the rare event that a patient or employee becomes sick, we test them and respond quickly and comprehensively to limit further exposure and ensure a safe environment for all.

For those who want to access our substance use, mental health, family and children's services online, we will continue to offer virtual outpatient programming through our industry-leading RecoveryGo® behavioral health service. Additionally, we provide many free online resources to help provide support and inspiration, including apps, online groups, blogs, videos and more.

Throughout the pandemic, patients have expressed gratitude for being able to access lifesaving care for their substance use and mental health conditions with the peace of mind knowing Hazelden Betty Ford is doing everything we can to protect them from COVID-19. In fact, many have mentioned feeling safer in our care than anywhere else.

Additional COVID-19 Info & Resources

  • Substance use disorder (SUD) is on the CDC's list of at-risk underlying conditions.
  • Research indicates people with SUD are at significantly higher risk of both contracting COVID-19 and experiencing severe illness or dying as a result—with especially heightened risk among African Americans who have SUD.
  • Public health officials strongly recommend COVID-19 vaccination for people with SUD.
  • Take a short assessment to help determine if you should be tested for COVID-19.
  • Keep healthy by following easy prevention practices.
  • Learn about vaccination effectiveness and safety.

Tips for Staying Connected and Safeguarding Your Addiction Recovery

Is it time for you to re-think attending recovery meetings in-person? If peer support groups and/or outpatient treatment meetings are an important part of your recovery, continue to go unless:

  • You are sick (especially with fever, cough or shortness of breath)
  • You have been exposed to the coronavirus (take an assessment to help determine if you should be tested)
  • You have recently visited a known outbreak area
  • Your meetings are canceled
  • Public health officials have specifically told people in your area to stay home.

Be sure to check before heading to a meeting as cancellations may become more commonplace. (See the list of cancellations for our sites/events.)

Ways to Protect Yourself and Others at Meetings

  • Wash your hands when you arrive and when you leave.
  • Bring hand sanitizer, especially if you're a meeting leader.
  • If you use nicotine products, know you are at higher risk of contracting viruses of all kinds and suffering more severe symptoms. (This is a good time to consider quitting.)
  • Remind elderly group members of their increased risks related to the coronavirus.
  • Remind group members who plan to travel that there may be greater risk of exposure.
  • Modify proceedings to avoid holding hands or otherwise embracing during the Serenity Prayer or other aspects of your meeting.
  • Avoid handshakes and hugs. Maybe try the elbow tap.
  • Take extra precautions if shared food is part of the meeting. For example, have someone with gloves dish up individual portions, or avoid shared food altogether.
  • Use gloves if handling money, such as passing a basket to collect donations.
  • Cover your nose and mouth if you cough or sneeze.
  • Check in by text or phone with friends who are not attending your meetings.

If you have to miss meetings, stay in touch with peers and treatment providers by phone and text. Consider virtual services and free support resources to help keep your recovery strong. Together, we can stay safe, stay connected and support one another.

More Resources