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Coronavirus Testing Procedures & 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.

Visitor/Auxiliary Volunteer Workforce 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, as well as our Auxiliary Volunteer workforce until April 10, 2020. 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. *Do NOT go to your doctor’s 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 sick@illinois.gov.
  2. Answer questions to determine your risk. – When you call your healthcare provider, you will be asked about your risks for COVID-19. Risk factors include recent travel to certain countries or areas of the U.S., or exposure to an infected person. For instance,
  • Have you traveled in the last 14 days?
  • Have you traveled to China, any other country, or a community in the United States where the coronavirus is spreading?
  • Have you had close contact with anyone diagnosed with known coronavirus (COVID-19) infection or that is under evaluation for possible exposure? (Close contact means having been within 6 feet of that person for an extended time or being exposed to their cough or sneeze.)
  • Do you have any of the following symptoms: fever, a cough (or other cold or flu-like symptoms), difficulty breathing or shortness of breath?

These questions are subject to change.

  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 west entrance near the blue awning. Stay in your car. You will be tested for influenza. These test results will take approximately 20 minutes. If these results are negative, CGH Medical Center is required to contact the WCHD and IDPH to receive authorization to administer a COVID-19 test. Results from this test can take up to 72 hours.

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 and recent travel history.

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 to two people 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.