The Latest on the COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) in Northwest Illinois

The current COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) outbreak is a continuously developing story. FHN continues to participate in webinars and conference calls with local, state, regional, and national experts to be advised of the current status and next steps with respect to confirmed cases of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) in the United States.

FHN President & CEO Mark Gridley and Physician Leaders Answer Questions About COVID-19


The following symptoms, which are not the same as those for the common cold, may appear 2-14 days after you've been exposed to COVID-19:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild non-specific symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover.

If the symptoms worsen or persist, call your healthcare provider or (815-599-6412).

If you develop serious symptoms, call (815-599-6412). Symptoms that call for immediate medical attention include:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

Testing Criteria

Due to the limited number of tests available nationwide at this time, this testing is by appointment only and must be scheduled in advance; individuals without appointments who arrive at the site will be asked to return only if an appointment has been scheduled through the testing scheduling number 815-599-6412.

Callers will be screened, which means asking questions about any current symptoms, recent travel, and interactions with others, as well as determining if callers may be at higher risk for complications from COVID-19 as outlined below. Answers to these screening questions will determine if callers meet testing criteria and will provide direction for the next course of action, which may include testing at FHN's mobile location.

People with fever and/or signs of lower respiratory illness such as cough or shortness of breath (not symptoms of a typical cold or upper respiratory condition) and meet any of the below criteria may be tested:

  • Any person, including healthcare workers, who has had close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient within 14 days of symptom onset
  • A history of travel from affected geographic areas within 14 days of symptom onset (currently China, South Korea, Iran, Italy, parts of Europe, and Japan)
  • The individual is from a congregate living or healthcare facility (staff and/or patient/resident) with clusters of infection not due to influenza and suspected to be due to COVID-19
  • The patient is at higher risk for complications from COVID-19 and for whom rapid test results are more likely to impact clinical care/outcomes (adults age 65 years and older, people with chronic medical conditions and/or an immunocompromised state that may put them at higher risk for poor outcomes
  • Other persons who have been evaluated by a medical professional and are deemed high priority, including hospitalized patients with unexplained pneumonia

The COVID-19 test is a nasopharyngeal specimen swab, sometimes referred to as an NP swab or test. A long swab is inserted deep into the nasal cavity, often around 3 inches beyond where the nose attaches to the rest of the head, until the patient coughs.

FHN's mobile test site is in the parking lot of the FHN Specialty Care – Harlem Avenue, 25 North Harlem Avenue (enter from Harlem Avenue) just north of FHN Memorial Hospital. Patients arriving for testing must present a photo ID upon arrival to confirm their appointment.

While there is currently no treatment for COVID-19, people who are mildly ill can be safe at home. While at home, as much as possible, they should stay in a specific room if living with others and away from other people who may visit.

Protect Yourself and Others:

Avoid Spreading Germs

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from other people, even if they aren't displaying symptoms.
  • Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash, and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
    • If surfaces are visibly dirty, use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.


Those who feel they need medical attention should contact their healthcare provider or local healthcare organization, who can evaluate whether they remain at home or need further testing or treatment. Please do not go to any Emergency Department expecting to be tested unless in medical distress.

If you are enrolled in FHN's online information portal MyFHN, use the "message" capability to send a message directly to your FHN provider about your symptoms. He or she may ask you to call their office and talk to a nurse.

Anyone, including people who are not FHN patients, can also use FHNow, FHN's telemedicine service, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Callers do not need to have an FHN provider, and can speak face-to-face with a healthcare provider via videoconference on phones, tablets, or laptop computers. It's fast and easy to sign up - visit for instructions and more information. (An online visit with FHNow is $59.)

COVID-19 Visitor Restrictions

FHN Memorial Hospital

FHN Memorial Hospital has implemented additional visitor restrictions:

No visitors for patients hospitalized for general treatment/procedures except for emergencies or end-of-life situations

Only one significant other allowed at a time for new mothers/babies in the Birthing Center; no siblings or other visitors under 18

One visitor at a time for Emergency Room patients; no visitors under 18

Please visit the main registration desk during business hours if you have questions, or the check-in desk in the ER after hours or for ER questions.

Thank you for helping us contain this highly contagious disease.

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FHN Office Practices

FHN Office Practices have implemented the following visitor restrictions:

If possible, please attend your appointment alone. If needed, one significant other will be allowed in the patient room.

Pediatric Patients under the age of 18: one parent or guardian will be allowed in the patient room.

Please note, patient and significant other may be required to wear a mask for the entire visit.

Thank you for helping us keep our community safe during this time.

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Flyers for Public Posting

Please feel free to download the attached flyers for businesses and organizations to print and post:

COVID-19 Testing Criteria and Hotline
COVID-19 FHNow and My FHN
COVID-19 FHN Visitor Restrictions


Please review the following resources to find out more about the virus and what can be done to help prevent its spread:

Listen to Mark Gridley, FHN President, CEO, talk about the Coronavirus - April 7.

Listen to Kathryn Martinez, FHN Chief Operating Officer, talk about FHN's preparations for outbreak - March 31.

Listen to Mark Gridley, FHN President, CEO, talk about the Coronavirus - March 17.

Listen to Gabriel Gonzalez, Assistant Vice President of Behavioral Health at FHN, talk about mental health during this outbreak.

If your loved one is over 60, read this

FHN's Infection Preventionist Margie Kochsmier, MSN, RN, CMSRN, talks about COVID-19.

The best way to avoid spreading (or catching) any illness is to:

Practice good handwashing

Practice good coughing and sneezing etiquette, and

Stay home if you are sick.

Good advice about the importance of cleaning your phone.

Essential Business FAQ

COVID-19 Coronavirus Descargas de documentos en español