Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

On February 11, 2020 the World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease that is causing the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, COVID-19. 

For the latest information about COVID-19, please visit:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by coronavirus disease (named COVID-19) that was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and which continues to spread. Chinese health officials have reported thousands of infections with COVID-19 in China, including outside of Hubei Province. Infections with COVID-19 also are being reported in a growing number of international locations, including the United States.

If you have been to mainland China in the last two weeks or have been in contact with someone known to have COVID-19 AND you have symptoms, please call your health care provider so they can make arrangements for you to be assessed.

Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

Common human coronaviruses usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold. These illnesses usually only last for a short amount of time. Symptoms may include:

  • runny nose
  • headache
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • fever
  • a general feeling of being unwell

Human coronaviruses can sometimes cause lower-respiratory tract illnesses, such as pneumonia or bronchitis. 

How is coronavirus transmitted?

Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:

  • the air by coughing and sneezing
  • close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands
  • rarely, fecal contamination

How can I prevent coronavirus illness?

The following can help prevent the spread of coronaviruses and protect you from becoming infected.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If no soap and water are available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

There are currently no vaccines to protect against human coronavirus infection.

How is coronavirus treated?

There are no specific treatments for coronavirus disease (COVID-19). To help relieve symptoms:

  • Take pain and fever medications.
  • Drink plenty of liquids.
  • Stay home and rest.

Additional Information

Information for Schools

Due to recent acceleration of COVID-19 transmission across China and in accordance with current federal guidance, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) recommends the following: 

  • Any student returning from mainland China on February 3, 2020 and onward should not attend school for 14 days after the return date. 
  • Absences for this purpose should be excused. 
  • Family members of these students should not attend work if they also traveled to mainland China. 

This interim guidance is effective as of February 3, 2020, and does not apply retrospectively to students who have been in China during the previous 14 days and are already in the U.S., or those being managed as part of a contact investigation. Students who returned from mainland China prior to February 3, 2020 can remain in school. 

If you returned from mainland China before February 3, 2020 and develop respiratory symptoms including fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care right away. Please call your medical provider in advance, so they are prepared to see you. 

Additional Information

Information for Lake County Health Care Providers

The Lake County Health Department is working with the state and federal partners to ensure that you are prepared for managing persons infected with the coronavirus disease. 

If patients with respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough and difficulty breathing) and/or fever1 arrive at your healthcare institution: 

  • Ask the patient during triage if they have traveled to mainland China or been in contact with someone known to be infected with COVID-19.
  • Suspect patients should be masked and immediately taken to a private or airborne isolation room.
  • Healthcare personnel should take standard, airborne, and contact isolation precautions (along with eye protection).
  • Please promptly notify infection control personnel and the Lake County Health Department Communicable Disease program for further instructions.
  • Currently, diagnostic testing is only performed at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Approval for submission must be obtained from the Lake County Health Department Communicable Disease program.
  • Please do not forget to test for other common, circulating viral infections (e.g., influenza, RSV, and other respiratory pathogens.)

Patients may not present with fever, based on other factors (e.g., very young, elderly, or immunosuppressed individuals or taking fever-reducing medications).

Contacting the Communicable Disease Program

Lake County Health Department Communicable Disease program 

  • Main line: (847) 377-8130 (9 a.m.-5 p.m.) 
  • After-hours and weekend: (224) 355-5675 (< 10 minutes to respond) 
  • Medical Epidemiologist, Dr. Sana Ahmed (847) 309-9671 

Lake County Health Department Emergency Response 

  • Patti Corn: (224) 221-8672 
  • Scott Robertson: (224) 355-6985 

Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Communicable Disease
If IDPH is contacted first, IDPH may refer you back to the Lake County Health Department.

  • Main line: (217) 782-2016 (during work hours) 
  • After-hours: (800) 782-7860

Additional Information

Note: this is an evolving situation and as we learn more about the coronavirus disease, we will share updated recommendations.