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.

Patients and Visitors at all FHN Locations are Required to Wear Masks/Face Coverings

While we’re seeing an improvement in numbers and cases in our communities, as health care providers, we still have a duty to prioritize the health and well-being of our patients, many of whom are immunocompromised and/or at high risk of severe reaction should they get COVID-19.

Therefore, at this time we will continue to require masks at our facilities. The science overwhelmingly shows that masking helps to reduce the spread of COVID-19, both for those who wear a mask and those who spend time around those who are masked. The CDC continues to recommend universal masking in health care settings, and we will continue to evaluate and follow both science and regulatory guidelines at our facilities.

COVID-19 Vaccination Information

If you haven’t gotten your COVID-19 vaccine, take care of this important task now!

COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions

FHN President and CEO Mark Gridley and Infection Preventionist Margie Kochsmier Answer Questions about COVID-19. January 18, 2022

El Dr. Lucio Martinez de FHN responde a preguntas sobre COVID-19 en el noroeste de Illinois.


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 or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

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.

Symptoms that call for immediate medical attention include:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

Covid SHIELD Testing

Free Covid SHIELD testing is now available at FHN. This testing is open to the public and will be offered via appointments from 7 to 11 a.m. Thursdays at FHN’s Acute Respiratory Clinic. The Acute Respiratory Clinic is located on the east side of the lower level of the FHN Specialty Care – Harlem Avenue location, 25 N. Harlem Avenue in Freeport. Patients should enter the clinic at the Douglas Street entrance.

In order to get tested, individuals should create an account on the SHIELD Illinois portal located at and schedule their test appointment. Please use df5brbrj for the Agency Code. Individuals can also contact 217-265-6059 for help setting up an account, creating appointments, and accessing results.

Persons must present an ID and the QR code provided when the appointment was scheduled and should not eat, drink, or put anything in their mouth for an hour before taking the test. That includes smoking, drinking, chewing gum, and using mouthwash.

Results are available within 72 hours and will be posted in the SHIELD patient portal after the lab results are completed. FHN will not be made aware of nor have access to your results; please refer to the SHIELD portal for your results. By law, positive test results are reported to the relevant public health department(s) for contact tracing.

For more information about the Covid SHIELD test, visit SHIELD Illinois

Who to Call

If you are experiencing respiratory symptoms and have an FHN primary care provider, please call your primary care provider's office. If you do not have a primary care provider, and you would like to establish with one, please call 815-599-7060.

If you have any questions related to COVID-19, please call the Illinois Department of Public Health COVID-19 hotline at 1-800-889-3931.

While there is currently no treatment for COVID-19, people who are mildly ill can be safe at home. While at home, they should stay in a specific room as much as possible 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.

COVID-19 Visitor Restrictions

As the recent surge of COVID-19 patients slows down, FHN is revising visitor restrictions, as of April 12, 2022, for FHN Memorial Hospital and all other FHN locations.

  • Current visiting hours are between 1:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. daily
  • All visitors must wear a mask while in the facility and in the patient room.
  • All visitors must be age 18 or older and check in each day at the Admitting desk, where they will receive a screening including temperature check and a dated visitor's badge.
  • Adult inpatients at FHN Memorial Hospital will be allowed two visitors per day during visiting hours, 1-6:30 p.m. Visitors may not stay in the waiting room.
  • Labor and Delivery Care: Two support individuals per day will be allowed. Patient siblings or anyone under 18 will not be allowed. If father of the newborn is aged less than 18, he is permitted as a visitor. The mother may also have one other visitor present during her stay.
  • Pediatric: Two visitors per patient will be allowed, with no hour restrictions. One should be a PARENT OR GUARDIAN. Anyone under 18 (including siblings) will not be allowed.

Clinic Appointments at FHN Family Healthcare Centers or Specialty Care Centers: Two adults are allowed to accompany adult patients to office visits. Pediatric patients may have 2 parents or adults along for office visits.
No visitors who are currently experiencing or recently experienced COVID-19 or respiratory symptoms, such as a cough, fever or shortness of breath, are permitted.

Visitors throughout all FHN locations must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Wear a mask at all times, and maintain social distancing
  • Wash hands when entering and leaving rooms
  • Leave directly after visiting the patient room

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

Flyers for Public Posting

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

How NOT to Wear a Mask

COVID-19 Information Videos

December 16

November 22

September 22

August 12

June 29

May 5

April 21

April 5

March 26

March 11

March 1

February 22

January 26

January 12, 2021

Between Us, About Us: W. Kamau Bell speaks with black healthcare workers about COVID-19 vaccines

November 19

November 2

September 18

September 4

August 25

August 13

July 30

July 14

June 29

June 15

June 8

June 1

May 25

May 18

May 11

May 6

May 4

April 28

April 21

April 14

April 6

March 30

March 23


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

Keep Yourself and Your Family Safe: Get the Mask Facts

Listen to FHN Infection Preventionist Margie Kochsmier, MSN, RN, CMSRN talk about COVID-19 Vaccine Myths - November 2.

CDC Recommends COVID-19 Vaccine for Pregnant Women

Why the Vaccinated Are Still at Risk From Coronavirus - July 21.

5 Reasons to Wear a Mask Even After You're Vaccinated - January 20.

SCHD reports on COVID-19 Vaccine Arrival in Region 1 - December 16.

Listen to Mark Gridley, FHN President, CEO give a COVID-19 update - November 16.

Listen to FHN's Dr. Farhan Khan discuss COVID-19 symptoms and prevention - November 3.

Listen to FHN Infection Preventionist Margie Kochsmier, MSN, RN, CMSRN talk about remaining vigilant in COVID-19 prevention practices - October 27.

Illinois Department of Public Health's Small Social Gatherings Safety Tips

How coronavirus symptoms differ from the flu, allergies, and common cold, in one chart

Tips to Protect Children During a COVID-19 Outbreak

Find specific information about COVID-19 testing and related treament costs.

How to wear a cloth mask safely

How to wear a medical mask safely

Get the basics of a good medicine cabinet updated to include supplies recommended during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Listen to Dr. Keith Martin, FHN's Chief Medical Officer, review FHN Memorial Hospital's COVID-19 Preparations - April 28.

Listen to Mark Gridley, FHN President, CEO, talk about the Coronavirus - April 21.

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

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.

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.

How Safe Is It To Eat Takeout? - Find out and get tips to keep safe.

Support Your Local Restaurants - Get a list of area restaurants providing takeout and delivery service.

Essential Business FAQ

COVID-19 Coronavirus Descargas de documentos en espanol

IHA's Wear a Mask Video

IHA's Usar una Mascara Video

IDPH's COVID-19 Face Covering Dos & Don'ts

The FHN Family Counseling Center is a proud partner of the Illinois Call4Calm Text Line Service. Text "TALK" TO 552020 (or "HABLAR" for Spanish). The Illinois Call4Calm Text Line is not a crisis hotline, but is a source of support for anyone experiencing stress and in need of a listening ear. We are here to serve you.

New and Updated COVID-19 Resources for Parents