Press Release 3/20/2020

As the availability of testing for COVID-19 and the necessity of testing for COVID-19 are continually re-evaluated, The Illinois Department of Public Health has issued new guidance about who will be tested in IDPH labs. As of now, persons living in a residential congregate setting, serving more vulnerable populations and having 2 or more possible or confirmed cases of COVID-19 OR persons hospitalized with unexplained pneumonia are the only populations who will be tested.


This new information changes previous guidance for those experiencing symptoms, but steps to take to prevent illness have not changed.


There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Persons with mild respiratory illnesses are advised to stay home to minimize possible exposures to healthcare workers, patients and the public. The virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.


Clean your hands often

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 readily 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.


Avoid close contact

Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Put distance between yourself and other people. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.


Stay home if you’re sick

Stay home if you are sick. Drink plenty of fluids. If your symptoms are serious, call your primary care physician for guidance.


Cover coughs and sneezes

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. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.


Clean and disinfect

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 dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work. Use disinfectants appropriate for the surface. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).