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Coronavirus (COVID-19) General Information and Resources

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Hotline and Email

Illinoisans can dial 1-800-889-3931 twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week or email DPH.SICK@ILLINOIS.GOV to get their questions answered.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) in coordination with the Illinois Poison Control Center have launched the Illinois Novel Coronavirus Hotline and email address to answer questions Local Health Departments, clinicians, and the general public may have regarding the 2019 novel Coronavirus.

The hotline and email address were created to provide consistent information, answer questions, share facts about symptoms, and provide up-to-date information from the CDC.

Whiteside County Health Department (WCHD) Coronavirus Response Hub

Things to Remember

If you have COVID symptoms or if a family member has been tested for COVID, call your provider for further instructions BEFORE coming to the hospital or clinic.

  • If you have symptoms of a respiratory illness, such as fever, cough or shortness of breath *AND* you need emergency care for serious or life-threatening health issues, please do not hesitate to come to the Emergency Department or call 911. If you are able, please call ahead to discuss your symptoms, but we know this may not always be possible.
  • Do NOT stop any long-term medications, therapies or treatments you may be doing. Maintaining good control of underlying conditions is one of the best strategies to avoid more severe coronavirus symptoms.

The public is urged to take simple steps to protect each other from COVID-19 and manage their risk.
Together, we can move beyond this pandemic.

Protect Your Community: Take the following action to prevent the spread and protect others:
* WEAR A FACE MASK: Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth to help prevent the spread of the virus to others, especially those with underlying health conditions.
* WATCH YOUR DISTANCE: Keep at least 6 feet apart from others.
* WASH YOUR HANDS: Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds frequently to prevent spread.

Manage Your Risk: Reduce the risk of becoming COVID-19 positive:
* LIMIT YOUR TIME: When possible, limit your time with others not in your household to less than 15 minutes. The more time you spend around others, the greater your risk of exposure.
* GO OUTSIDE: When getting together, outdoors is safer than inside to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
* LEAVE WHEN NEEDED: Leave if guidelines are not being followed, there are others around not masking or social distancing, or there are too many people around.

Answer The Call:
Our area health departments are working hard to help protect the community from COVID-19 and provide resources to those who have been infected by or exposed to the virus. We need your help. If you receive a call or text message from your local health department, answer or return the call! If you are positive for COVID-19, your local health department will provide information to support isolation at home and will ask for information on your recent activities and contacts.

For more information please visit the IDPH and CDC websites.…/dis…/diseases-a-z-list/coronavirus

For general questions about COVID-19, call the IDPH hotline at 1-800-889-3931.

Frequently Asked Questions

These recommendations are subject to change

What is COVID-19?
By now, you’ve heard of COVID-19. It is a new virus that came out of China and has spread across the world. It is a viral respiratory infection that is very contagious. Thankfully, most people who get the infection will have only mild to moderate symptoms (fever, achiness, shortness of breath, fatigue) and recover at home without any problems. Because it is a virus, antibiotics are not helpful. A small number of people who get COVID-19 have a more severe infection and need to be hospitalized.

How do I know if COVID-19 will be severe if I get infected?
Unfortunately, you don’t. Those people over the age of 65, those with chronic lung or heart disease, diabetes or those who are taking medications that lower your immune response appear to be a higher risk of having a severe infection.

How do I know if I’ve been infected with COVID-19?
Most patients will feel like they have the common cold or influenza and have typical respiratory infection symptoms: fever (above 100°F), aches, cough, shortness of breath and fatigue.

Can’t I just get tested for COVID-19?
Unfortunately, COVID-19 testing is NOT readily available. If you have mild to moderate symptoms, testing for COVID-19 will not change what treatment we recommend.

When do you recommend COVID-19 testing then?
Since COVID-19 testing does not change what we recommend as treatment, we do NOT recommend testing for patients with mild to moderate symptoms. For patients with severe symptoms, that are sick enough to be hospitalized, we wholeheartedly recommend COVID-19 testing in conjunction with being assessed in the EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT.

What are considered mild to moderate symptoms? What is the treatment?
Mild to moderate symptoms (which we do not recommend COVID-19 testing) include: fever (above 100°F), aches, cough, shortness of breath, and fatigue. On the mild end, you may feel like you just have a cold. On the moderate symptom side, you may feel like you have a bad cold, but you’re able to handle it at home (fevers are controlled with Tylenol; your cough is annoying or perhaps keeps you up at night, but you can still manage; your shortness of breath is noticeable but manageable).

Treatment for mild to moderate symptoms includes: staying home until you are fever-free for 3 days (72 hours with no fever and without the use of medicine that reduces fever) and symptoms have improved and at least 7 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared. Get plenty of rest, push fluids, and use Tylenol for fevers or achiness. Patients with COVID-19 infection with mild to moderate symptoms are safe to recover at home and will make a complete recovery – usually in 1-3 weeks.

So, I have mild to moderate symptoms, but feel I need to be evaluated anyway. Where do I go and who do I call?
First, CALL your Primary Care Provider (PCP) and discuss your symptoms to see if you need to be seen. They may be able to help you over the phone or recommend you be seen in their office or at the CGH ReadyCare Clinic. If you DON’ T have a PCP, call CGH ReadyCare, discuss your symptoms with our triage nurse and decide what is the next step. Please DO NOT walk into your PCP office or the CGH ReadyCare Clinic if you have these symptoms without calling first! We don’t want you to be exposing yourself or others to COVID-19.

What are considered SEVERE symptoms? What is the treatment?
Severe symptoms are an indication that you need to be seen in the Emergency Department to be assessed for the possibility of being hospitalized. These symptoms would include: your cough is increasingly productive with sputum and/or wheezing to the point where you have difficulty managing your secretions and your breathing may be compromised and can’t handle it at home; your shortness of breath is severe to where you feel like you aren’t getting enough oxygen; and the fatigue is severe such that you have trouble getting out of bed to do even the small things to care for yourself. When symptoms are SEVERE, we want you to seek care at the EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT for evaluation about possible admission to the hospital.

Call 911 if you have a medical emergency:
If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the operator that you have (or think you might have) COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before medical help arrives.

What is this based on?
All of our decisions regarding these issues are based on current CDC/IDPH guidelines. These guidelines are being updated all the time. We are doing our best to provide you with the best testing and care recommendations possible.

How do I discontinue home isolation?
The below CDC guidance may be revised to respond to rapidly changing local circumstances. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

People with COVID-19 who have stayed home (home isolated) can stop home isolation under the following conditions:
• You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever  without the usemedicine that reduces fevers)
• other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved)
• at least 7 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared.

In all cases, follow the guidance of your healthcare provider and local health department. The decision to stop
home isolation should be made in consultation with your healthcare provider. Thank you for your cooperation.

For general questions about COVID-19,
call the IDPH hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email

Information and Links

Coronavirus (COVID-19) CDC and IDPH Links:

Coronavirus Visual Dashboard

2019 Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 (2019-nCoV) Data Repository by Johns Hopkins CSSE



Call: (815) 632-5234

  • Homemade masks to be distributed to patients
  • N95 Masks (Niosh approved)
  • Procedure Masks
  • Protective Wear (Isolation or Procedure Gowns)
  • Bleach Wipes

To make a monetary donation, please contact the CGH Health Foundation at 815-625-0400, ext. 5672.

Coronavirus Testing Procedures and Restrictions

We continue to work closely with our state and local health agencies to protect and care for our patients, families and staff. As part of our standard infection prevention procedures, we have implemented policies to identify, treat and limit the spread of the disease in our community.

Non-essential Visitor Restrictions

As a community, we are asking for your help to minimize any unnecessary exposure to our hospital. In an effort to protect our patients that are more susceptible to illnesses, we are restricting all non-essential visitors until further notice. This includes: club meetings, groups, outside sales people, and any other public non-essential gatherings. Also, we ask that you please limit any floral or food deliveries to our patients. Thank you for your understanding.

***** CGH COVID-19 Testing Procedures *****

  1. Stay home and call your healthcare provider before going to their office (unless it is an emergency). To reduce your risk of catching or spreading illness, stay home if you feel sick, even if your symptoms are mild. Do not go to work, school or public places, and avoid public transportation. If your symptoms are severe or you feel like you need medical care, call before you go to your healthcare provider’s office or CGH Ready Care. Describe your symptoms over the phone. If you have a medical emergency, call 911 and tell the dispatcher about your symptoms and recent travel history. For general questions about COVID-19 and symptoms, call the IDPH hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email
  2. Answer questions regarding your symptoms.
  1. THIS IS CGH MEDICAL CENTER’S CURRENT PROCESS FOR TESTING and is subject to change based on IDPH and CDC recommendations:
  • Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions - Based on your answers to the screening questions, and on your risk for COVID-19, you will receive instructions over the phone. You will be told if you need to be evaluated, and if so, what to do next. Your health care provider may recommend that you:
    • Continue to monitor your health and call back if you develop a fever or respiratory symptoms.
    • Stay home and await further instructions.
    • You may be asked to go to the emergency department if you have more severe symptoms, such as higher fever and severe shortness of breath.
    • ONLY if directed to do so by your healthcare provider following your pre-screening, report to CGH Ready Care, located in the lower level of 15 W. 3rd Street, Sterling, for testing. If possible, it is best to go alone to your appointment. Unless you need assistance, do not bring children or other family members. Once at Ready Care, drive up to the east entrance near the blue awning. Stay in your car for further instruction.

Important things you should know about COVID-19

  • The novel (new) coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly through respiratory droplets, which means that others can become infected when they inhale particles from the air when a person with the disease coughs or sneezes. It can also be spread by touching surfaces that have been contaminated by droplets of body fluids like nasal mucus.
  • Younger ages are probably less likely to have a severe infection. However, it is still possible to spread through children and it is important that we all follow recommendations to limit the spread.
  • As is true for any respiratory virus, elderly individuals, those with lung diseases, and the immunocompromised are at a greater risk for complications from COVID-19 such as pneumonia. However, they are not more likely to be infected by COVID-19 than with another respiratory virus.
  • If you or a loved one has a fever and cough and appears to have trouble breathing, call 911 and tell the dispatcher about your symptoms.

General recommendations for avoiding viral infections

  • Wash your hands thoroughly (for at least 20 seconds) after sneezing, blowing your nose, coughing or using the bathroom, and before preparing or eating food.
  • If you cough or sneeze, do so into the bend of your elbow, not your hand. Or use a tissue, and then throw it away immediately afterward.
  • At home, clean often-touched surfaces such as doors and doorknobs, cabinet handles, bathroom hardware, tabletops, phones, tablets and keyboards regularly with disinfectant.

What to do if you have an upcoming appointment at CGH Medical Center

  • As the COVID-19 situation evolves, you may be contacted to reschedule your appointment for your health and safety. If you would like to reschedule your appointment, please call your healthcare provider and we will help with this.
  • We are restricting those who enter the hospital in order to limit the spread of the virus. On the day of your appointment, only one person can accompany a patient. Everyone else, including those under the age of 18, may not come along.
  • If you or anyone in your household has symptoms such a cough, fever or shortness of breath, call your healthcare provider before the day of the appointment and tell us about your symptoms and of those in your household. We will ask you additional questions and give you instructions for next steps.