Novel Coronavirus, COVID-19


 This document was last modified: May 29, 2020 @ 3:04 pm

 Link to COVID-19 Data Page



 The Will County Health Department’s (WCHD) Community Health Center (CHC) is using its wheels. The CHC’s Mobile Medical Unit (which also operates as a Mobile Dental Unit) has joined with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) for a very special program of Coronavirus testing.

Now that Governor Pritzker’s office has provided testing kits for Community Health Centers throughout the state, the CHC’s mobile van can drive to high-risk community locations for COVID-19 testing that is processed through Illinois Department of Public Health laboratories.

“The Governor’s office and IDPH decided to partner with FQHCs (Federally Qualified Health Centers) like ours because of their connections to the communities and the resources they have, like our mobile unit,” said WCHD Executive Director Sue Olenek. “Congregate care settings innately have challenges because of the proximity of their residents, causing the risk of transmission to be higher. This includes nursing and assisted living homes, childcare sites, residential treatment facilities, and many more.”

For CHC Chief Executive Officer Mary Maragos, this is an example of exactly what their mobile unit is meant to do. “It increases access to care by bringing health services to those who cannot travel, or for whom transportation is a barrier. Taking the Mobile Medical Unit on important outings like this is a multidisciplinary team effort that takes a lot of organization, daily debriefing, and revisions as needed.”


CHC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jennifer Byrd says any type of testing being done on the road is more complicated than inside a medical office. “We have to make sure the site can accommodate our mobile unit when it comes to maneuverability and space to set up, as well as ensuring our healthcare workers are in an open air environment for safer testing. Plus, we need to ensure the hosting site can assist with patient scheduling and flow, and we need to make sure we have enough PPE (personal protective equipment) to keep this process going. We are excited to be involved in the fight against COVID-19 in this way, as this is the kind of work that community health centers are driven to do’’. See the Schedule below for Congregate and Public testing sites, dates and times.




The domestic plumbing systems in any building or part of a building that has been shut down or has experienced reduced use due to COVID-19 policies are at risk for causing disease and death due to the effects of increased water age, including corrosion and growth of bacteria.  Before re-opening any such building, steps need to be taken to minimize these risks, and a licensed plumber should be consulted.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has written a general guidance document for returning these systems to regular use, available at  In Attachment B of this document, Section II, Step 2. b., IDPH recommends setting the water heater to at least 120 degrees F prior to flushing the domestic hot water plumbing.  We recommend a higher temperature of at least 142 degrees F as this will kill Legionella bacteria in the heater within 30 minutes.  However, do not use water at this temperature for flushing if the building’s Drain Waste Vent (DWV) materials and/or plumbing system components cannot handle this higher temperature.  WARNING:  142 degree F water can cause third degree burns in seconds.  Note that Legionella bacteria can continue to grow at temperatures up to 122 degrees F.

The Environmental Science Policy and Research Institute has written a useful guidance document, “Reducing Risk to Staff Flushing Buildings”, available at

Use the IDPH guidance in conjunction with your facility’s Legionella Water Management Program (WMP).  If none exists, we recommend writing a remediation and/or recommissioning plan.  Then later, a full WMP can be written.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offers a free training program on how to write a WMP, available at this web link:

CDC has also created a toolkit to assist in developing a WMP, available at this link:


Drinking Fountains:  If these were shut off and/or not used for a period of time, they should be cleaned according to the manufacturer’s instructions before being used again for drinking.

Chlorine levels:  The Illinois EPA requires a minimum of 0.5 parts per million Free Chlorine or 1.0 parts per million Total chlorine (also called Combined chlorine) in drinking water, unless a facility has been given an exemption (this is rare, but applies in some cases to facilities supplied with clean well water).

For purposes of defensibility, we recommend documenting all actions you take to prepare facilities for re-opening.

After re-opening, we recommend maintaining 142 degrees F or higher in all domestic water heaters and storage tanks, and 124 degrees F or higher in all recirculating domestic hot water systems for the purpose of reducing the risk of Legionnaire’s Disease.  Of course, delivered water at fixtures must meet local and state plumbing codes for maximum safe temperature to prevent scalding.  Usually the only way to achieve Legionella risk reduction and anti-scalding is to maintain high temperature in tanks and recirculating systems and employ thermostatic mixing valves just prior to point of use fixtures.


STAY UP TO DATE: Illinois Department of Public Health Daily Press Conference Updates: Here

Coronavirus symptoms

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty Breathing or Shortness of Breath
  • Chills
  • Sore Throat
  • Headache
  • Loss of Taste, Smell
  • New confusion
  • Bluish lips or face

*This is not a complete symptoms list, please seek your “medical home” or doctor for testing and treatment options.

What to do if you are sick

The vast majority of those exposed to Coronavirus will not require hospitalization; Symptoms are often mild enough to care at home. However, if you develop threatening symptoms such as shortness of breath, dehydration, changes in mental status, or other complications, call your doctor and seek immediate medical attention.

Please contact your “medical home” or doctor if you believe you have been exposed to the novel coronavirus, or are experiencing symptoms

To get information on Antibody Testing, visit:

COVID-19 Testing Now Available, visit: for Sites


Similarities: COVID-19 and the Flu


  • Both cause fever, cough, body aches and fatigue; sometimes vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Can be mild or severe, even fatal in rare cases.
  • Can result in pneumonia.


  • Both can be spread from person to person through droplets in the air from an infected person coughing, sneezing or talking.
  • A possible difference: COVID-19 might be spread through the airborne route (see details below under Differences).
  • Both can be spread by an infected person for several days before their symptoms appear.


  • Neither virus is treatable with antibiotics, which only work on bacterial infections.
  • Both are treated by addressing symptoms, such as reducing fever. Severe cases may require hospitalization and support such as mechanical ventilation.


Both may be prevented by frequent, thorough hand washing, coughing into the crook of your elbow, staying home when sick and limiting contact with people who are infected. Social distancing can limit the spread of COVID-19 in communities.


Differences: COVID-19 and the Flu


COVID-19: Caused by one virus, the novel 2019 coronavirus, now called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2.

Flu: Caused by any of several different types and strains of influenza viruses.


While both the flu and COVID-19 may be transmitted in similar ways (see the Similarities section above), there is also a possible difference: COVID-19 might be spread through the airborne route, meaning that tiny droplets remaining in the air could cause disease in others even after the ill person is no longer near.

Antiviral Medications

COVID-19: Antiviral medications and other therapies are currently being tested to see if they can address symptoms.

Flu: Antiviral medications can address symptoms and sometimes shorten the duration of the illness.


COVID-19: No vaccine is available at this time, though it is in progress.

Flu: A vaccine is available and effective to prevent some of the most dangerous types or to reduce the severity of the flu.


COVID-19: Approximately 351,731 cases worldwide; 35,241 cases in the U.S. as of Mar. 23, 2020.*

Flu: Estimated 1 billion cases worldwide; 9.3 million to 45 million cases in the U.S. per year.


COVID-19: Approximately 15,374 deaths reported worldwide; 473 deaths in the U.S., as of Mar. 23, 2020.*

Flu: 291,000 to 646,000 deaths worldwide; 12,000 to 61,000 deaths in the U.S. per year.

The COVID-19 situation is changing rapidly. Since this disease is caused by a new virus, people do not have immunity to it, and a vaccine may be many months away. Doctors and scientists are working on estimating the mortality rate of COVID-19, but at present, it is thought to be higher than that of most strains of the flu.

*This information comes from the Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases map developed by the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering.


Protect Yourself

  • Clean your hands often
  • Avoid close contact
  • Stay home if you’re sick
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Wear a face mask if you are sick to keep from infecting others
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces


Who is Most at Risk?

  • Individuals with Heart Disease
  • Individuals with pre-diabetes and diabetes
  • Individuals with Lung disease
  • Individuals with Kidney disease
  • Individuals with underlying health conditions
  • Those living in congregate living situations
  • The elderly

The Will County Health Department reminds you that if you believe you have been exposed to Coronavirus:

  1. Isolate yourself and self-monitor for the symptoms. This includes taking your temperature three times daily (morning, afternoon, evening) to check for a fever, along with watching for other symptoms such as cough and shortness of breath.
  2. If you do have these symptoms, you are asked to phone YOUR MEDICAL PROVIDER for an examination, as your medical provider is the one who knows you and your family’s medical condition’s best. ALWAYS CALL AHEAD OF TIME, as your provider may have certain times or areas where they prefer symptomatic patients to go.
  3. Call the Hotline. The Will County Health Department has established a Coronavirus hotline for questions, available from 8 AM to 4 PM Monday through Friday at 815-740-8977.



In addition, the Will County Health Department reminds you that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that gatherings of 50 people or more should be put on hold for eight weeks. WCHD asks you to follow these guidelines, not doing so could result in more residents being put at risk of contracting Coronavirus. More information can be found @,,

Tips For Social Distancing, Quarantine, And Isolation During An Infectious Disease Outbreak

This tip sheet describes feelings and thoughts you may have during and after social distancing, quarantine, and isolation. It also suggests ways to care

Here: tips-social-distancing-quarantine-isolation-031620

What To Expect: Typical Reactions

Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations, such as an infectious disease outbreak, that requires social distancing, quarantine, or isolation …for your behavioral health during these experiences and provides resources for more help.

CDC Tips for Coping 

Toll-Free: 1-877-SAMHSA-7 (1-877-726-4727) | |



TEXT TALK to 552020

TEXT HABLAR to 552020

“During these stressful times of the Coronavirus pandemic, and all the life challenges that have come with it, the WCHD (Will County Health Department) Behavioral Health (BH) division is now able to offer residents a chance to have a mental health professional to talk to, free of charge, when things become overwhelming.”

This past Saturday, April 11th, Governor Pritzker announced that the CALL4CALM line had been activated by the State of Illinois. As part of the DMH Program 580 Crisis Staffing Grant initiative, any text or call made to the CALL4CALM number from within Will County will be directed to the WCHD BH division.

Residents simply need to text TALK, or HABLAR if their preferred language is Spanish, to 552020. Residents will receive a response on their cell phone. For difficulties such as fear, anger, worry about their families, feeling isolated, or any other stresses related to the pandemic, residents will be asked to enter their preferred first name (what they like to be called) and their zip code. They will then receive a call from someone within their region within 24 hours.

Residents will be told to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255, if they are feeling suicidal.




Shopping Hours for Seniors and Immunocompromised






To Request PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) from the Illinois Department of Public Health, Follow Here: IDPH PPE Request Process



  • What is a respirator?
    • A respirator is a personal protective device that is worn on the face or head and covers at least the nose and mouth. A respirator is used to reduce the wearer’s risk of inhaling hazardous airborne particles (including infectious agents), gases or vapors. Respirators, including those intended for use in healthcare settings, are certified by the CDC/NIOSH.
  • What is an N95 filtering facepiece respirator (FFR)?
    • An N95 FFR is a type of respirator which removes particles from the air that are breathed through it. These respirators filter out at least 95% of very small (0.3 micron) particles. N95 FFRs are capable of filtering out all types of particles, including bacteria and viruses.
    • For more on respirators:UnderstandDifferenceInfographic-508
  • Extended Use Guidelines for Filtering Facepiece Respirator (FFR)
    • Clean hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before and after touching or adjusting the FFR.
    • Avoid touching the inside of the FFR.
    • Use a pair of clean (non-sterile) gloves when donning and performing a user seal check.
    • Visually inspect the FFR to determine if its integrity has been compromised.
    • Check that components such as the straps, nose bridge, and nose foam material did not degrade, which can affect the quality of the fit, and seal.
    • If the integrity of any part of the FFR is compromised, or if a successful user seal check cannot be performed, discard the FFR and try another FFR.
    • Users should perform a user seal check immediately after they don each FFR and should not use an FFR on which they cannot perform a successful user seal check.
    • For more information on respirators
  • Strategies for Prioritization of respirators

IDPH Guidance on general use masks





Urgent Update:

Due to recent concerns surrounding the spread of Coronavirus and the safety of our staff, our (CCAP) Child Care Resource and Referral lobby will be closed to the public.

However, we will have someone available to receive and print paperwork.

For all questions or case updates please call our hotline at 815-741-4622. We have made more specialists available to accommodate the increase in calls.















Information and Resources for Social Services:


Passenger Health Update

Pace ADA Paratransit customers should reconsider travel

The safety of our passengers and personnel is Pace’s top priority and working diligently to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Pace stated they are working closely with local, state and federal agencies to monitor the situation and respond in accordance with CDC guidance.

We are making every decision with the well-being of our passengers, our employees, and our communities in mind, and following the directives of state and federal officials.”

To that end, Pace is recommending that ADA paratransit riders consider postponing non-essential travel. If you have a reservation for a paratransit ride and wish to cancel it, please call 1-800-606-1282 to cancel as early as possible.

Thank you for your patience as we manage this situation. If you have any questions about Pace’s paratransit service or Pace’s response to COVID-19, please email

Updates from Pace will be posted to this page.



The Governor of Illinois, JB Pritzker announced that as of Monday March 16, 2020 at 9pm all restaurants and bars will be closed to dine-in customers until March 30th, 2020.

Get the Latest from the Governor @ the State of Illinois Coronavirus website Here

Illinois: Executive Orders related to COVID-19


Guidelines as well as toolkits for businesses can be found on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) website:

“In every aspect of our pandemic response, and especially as we begin to safely reopen meaningful swaths of our economy, our number one priority must be the health and safety of our workers, our customers, and Illinoisans at large,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “The industry-specific baseline guidance for businesses the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity released today will help employers re-open their doors in Phase 3 in line with that priority. In order to cover as many unique aspects of industry as possible, my administration collected input from hundreds of industry participants across the state and these guidelines reflect the questions and ideas brought to us by businesses of every size, background, and region in the state – and prioritize public health as our guiding light. You can’t build a strong economy if people aren’t comfortable being a part of it.”

Phase 3 of Restore Illinois is expected to bring approximately 700,000 Illinoisans back to the workplace, a key step towards getting the Illinois economy back on track—with an estimated 20 percent, or $150 billion in annual GDP, of the overall economy returned to operations.

DCEO also developed a downloadable toolkit for businesses to help them re-open and comply with new guidelines.  The toolkit includes signage, training checklists and other resources to help business owners and workers implement safety procedures and precautions from IDPH. Materials will soon be made available in multiple languages, including Spanish, Polish, Chinese and other most commonly spoken languages in Illinois.

The Pritzker administration has launched nearly $100 million in resources in the past few weeks to help businesses impacted by COVID-19 – including the Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program, the Small Business Emergency Loan Fund, the Emergency Hospitality Assistance Grant, and the Fast Track Capital Grants. The administration continues to look for ways to provide ongoing assistance for businesses across the state. A full list of resources made available to small businesses and communities can be found on DCEO’s website:

“The move to phase 3 marks a milestone achievement in our efforts to protect all Illinois communities and overcome the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Director of IDPH. “IDPH will continue working closely with local public health departments, businesses and communities across our state to refine our public health response based on the latest data, expand testing and contact tracing, and sustain our overall progress in overcoming COVID-19.”


Guidance for Worksites

” Illinois Manufacturers Association: If you are an organization with the ability to donate or produce essential supplies, please visit:

Evidence shows that the novel COVID-19 is more easily spread than seasonal influenza, get the tips you need for your business below:

IDPH Guidelines for Faith Based Organizations

State of Illinois Violence Information

Guidance for Faith Based Centers


Multisystem Inflammatory Disease in Children Associated with COVID-19


IDPH Guidance for Emergency Services Response to Domestic Violence during COVID-19


IDHR Face Covering FAQs

IDPH Guidance for Dental Providers

Restore Illinois Plan

Guidance on Golf With Restrictions

State Parks Opening May 1st 2020

American Red Cross Guidance 

Mental Health First Aid Training; ONLINE FREE

IDPH Guidance for Food and Meat Processing Facilities and Workplaces

COVID-19 Inspector Checklist[pdf]

COVID-19 Inspector Checklist[doc]

Assessment Tool for Food and Meat Processing Facilities


National Foundation for Infectious Diseases Webinar: Covid-19 preparedness and response on us college campus



IDPH Food Service Enforcement

IDPH Food Service Guide

WCHD Guidance for Food Service Closure and Open

OSHA Guidelines for Worksites

Disinfection Products that are effective against COVID-19

Hotel Fitness Center Guidance 

FAQ for Child Care Providers during COVID-19

IDPH Guidance for Day Care Centers

Guidance for Health Care Facilities

Guidance for Health Care Professionals

Guidance for Laboratories

Telehealth Services Medicare

Telehealth Services Medicaid 

IDPH Guidance for Elective Procedures

HHS COVID-19 Healthcare Checklist

IDFPR Health Care Workers Call To Action

EMS and Fire Service Personnel: What They Need to Know

IDPH Guidance for Large Businesses during COVID-19

Coronavirus Guidance for those Running Homeless Shelters



WEBINAR SLIDES COVID-19 Response for Homeless

IDPH Guidance for Grocery Stores open during COVID-19

IDPH Guidance for Grocery Stores during COVID-19 2

IDPH Guidance for Blood Drives during COVID-19

IDPH Guidance for Blood Plasma Collection

ASTHO Guidance for COVID-19

IDPH Guidance for Care for Pregnant Women during COVID-19

CDC Guidance on Sewage and COVID-19

IDPH Guidance for Funeral Homes

IDPH Guidance on Transfer of Patients from Hospital Settings to Skilled and Intermediate LTC Facilities

IDPH Non-Discrimination in Treatment

IDPH Alternate Housing Plan

IDPH Guidance on Long Term Care Facility Congregate Settings

The Following Informational Links are available for Coronavirus Information:


CDC Recommends Cancellation of Events with 50 or More People for Next Eight Weeks

General Information

Information for Your Household

Community Preparedness

Travel Health Notices

Advice for Schools

Avoid the Spread of Germs via Coughing, Sneezing, or Unclean Hands

More on the Importance of Healthy and Clean Hands

For Pregnant Women and Breastfeeding Women



General Information

Frequently Asked Questions

Information for K-12 Schools

Information for College and Universities

What we Already Know about Coronavirus

What is Coronavirus?

For Pregnant Women