How to Protect Yourself and Others

Protect yourself and your community from getting and spreading respiratory illnesses like coronavirus disease 2019. Everyone has a role to play in getting ready and staying healthy.

We encourage residents to take “everyday preventive actions” to prevent the spread of illness and to keep our communities healthy.

Follow the 3 Ws

Follow the 3 Ws - Wear a Mask

Wear a mask

  • Wear a mask or cloth face covering when you leave your home. 
  • Wear it anywhere that maintaining social distance is difficult, like the grocery store or office.
  • Make sure your mask covers your mouth and nose.
Follow the 3 Ws - Wash Your Hands

Wash your hands

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • When soap and water is not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Follow the 3 Ws - Watch Your Distance

Watch your distance

  • Stay at least 6 feet away from people who don’t live in your home.
  • Maintain your distance, even when people are wearing masks.
  • Avoid close contact with others, especially people who are sick.
  • Avoid crowds and confined spaces.
  • Stay home when possible – this is still the safest option.  

If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of your age or because you have a serious long-term health problem, please take extra actions to reduce your risk of getting sick.

Get Vaccinated

Wearing masks and social distancing help reduce your chance of being exposed to COVID-19 or spreading it to others, but these measures are not enough. Vaccines will work with your immune system so it will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed.

Getting vaccinated and following the CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19.

Visit our COVID-19 Vaccine page to learn more.

If You Are Feeling Sick

Stay home. If you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, stay home. Distance yourself from others in the household and if possible, stay in your own bedroom and use your own bathroom. If your symptoms worsen, call your healthcare provider.

Do not walk into a healthcare facility, urgent care clinic, or hospital before calling. Discuss your symptoms with your doctor. If your doctor believes that you need to be tested for COVID-19, your doctor can refer you to a testing site. 

If you do not have a primary care provider, please contact the Lake County Health Department at (847) 377-8800.

When to Seek Medical Attention

If you have any of these emergency warning signs* for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.

Call 911 if you have a medical emergency: Notify the operator that you have or think you might have COVID-19. If possible, put on a face covering before medical help arrives.

How to Quarantine

We continue to recommend that close contacts to a COVID-19 case ideally, complete a 14-day quarantine period. However, effective February 8, 2021, a shortened 10-day quarantine period is acceptable if the person exposed to COVID-19 has NOT developed symptoms.  


If a person with no symptoms wishes to get a COVID-19 test, a RT-PCR test should be given at least 5–7 days after the date they were exposed to COVID-19. Even with a negative test, the person must still complete the minimum 10-day quarantine period.  

In both options, a person in quarantine must monitor symptoms daily and continue wearing a mask through Day 14. If symptoms develop, the person in quarantine should get a COVID-19 test as soon as possible. If the test is positive, a person should isolate at home for 10 days from the date symptoms start. If symptoms persist despite a negative test, please contact your medical provider.

The Lake County Health Department continues to recommend only 14-day quarantine periods in high-risk, congregate settings. This includes settings such as long-term care facilities, correctional and detention facilities, group homes, student housing, daycares, and other settings where social distancing may be difficult.Shorter quarantine options are less effective at preventing COVID-19 transmission in these settings. Even a small increased risk of transmission could result in many new infections.