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COVID-19 FAQs

COVID-19 General Questions | Donations  | Tips to Stay Healthy | Get Updated Information

This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation and NorthShore will provide updated information as it becomes available.

We continue to closely monitor the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms: fever, cough, congestion, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath, loss or decrease of smell or taste, muscle aches with flu-like symptoms, loss of appetite, chills or shaking chills, headache, diarrhea, nausea or other gastrointestinal symptoms OR had contact with a person confirmed with COVID-19 infection OR had contact with a person under investigation (someone who has been tested for COVID-19 and is awaiting results), contact our community health hotline at 847.432.5849 or begin an E-Visit through NorthShoreConnect.

Read our frequently asked questions to learn more about NorthShore's response to COVID-19.

COVID-19 General Questions

What is the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19)?

COVID-19 is a new virus that causes a respiratory viral syndrome that can range from a mild cold to severe pneumonia. A comprehensive list of symptoms is above.

Is there more than one type of coronavirus?

Yes, there are 7 kinds of coronavirus, including the one that causes the common cold. Other coronaviruses include SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and COVID-19.

How is COVID-19 spread?

It’s believed to spread via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to influenza and other respiratory infections.

Where has COVID-19 spread?

Due to the rapidly changing nature of COVID-19, please visit Illinois Department of Public Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or World Health Organization websites for the latest on the number of confirmed cases and related information in our communities, the United States, and globally.

Is there a vaccine?

Currently, there is not a vaccine for COVID-19.

What does “contact tracing” mean?

Contact tracing is used to identify persons who may have had contact with an infected person or with a person who exhibited no symptoms at the time of contact but later developed fever and/or respiratory issues. Our public health colleagues collect this and other information about these contacts, then test or treat infected individuals, and trace their contacts in turn. This process aims to contain and reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, population, etc.

How can I participate in a COVID vaccine trial?

NorthShore University HealthSystem is not participating in any COVID-19 vaccine trials at this time.

Do I need to wear a mask to protect myself?

We require everyone to wear a cloth face covering (mask) upon entering all of our clinical locations. If you do not have a mask, one will be provided. All essential visitors will also be required to wear a mask. We also recommend wearing a mask in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g. grocery stores, pharmacies) and especially in areas of significant community spread. In fact, several surrounding communities require that you wear a mask in public. The mask is not a replacement for social distancing (remaining at least six feet from other people) but rather something to use in addition to social distancing and other key preventive measures, such as frequent hand hygiene.

What should I do if I think I have COVID-19 symptoms?

People with COVID-19 infection typically have one or more of the following symptoms: fever, cough, congestion, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath, loss or decrease of smell or taste, muscle aches with flu-like symptoms, loss of appetite, chills or shaking chills, headache, diarrhea, nausea or other gastrointestinal symptoms OR had contact with a person confirmed with COVID-19 infection OR had contact with a person under investigation (someone who has been tested for COVID-19 and is awaiting results). If you have any of these symptoms and are over 60 years old or have chronic diseases or your immune system is weak, you may be at higher risk for a severe COVID-19 infection. Not all patients with these symptoms or risk factors need COVID-19 testing. If you feel you have COVID-19 symptoms you should:

  1. Call your physician first but please be patient. There may be some delays due to the number of people calling. 
  2. Contact our community health hotline at 847.432.5849 (847.HEALTH9) and listen to the choices to guide you to the information you are looking for.
  3. If you’re a NorthShoreConnect user, you may schedule an e-visit.

If your symptoms are worsening or you think you need emergency services, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Should everyone with symptoms that could be due to COVID-19 be evaluated and tested?
As testing has become more available and there is clear evidence of community-spread, we have expanded our testing capabilities. Symptomatic individuals who are being prioritized for testing include hospitalized or critically ill patients; individuals in congregate living settings that may be part of a potential cluster of COVID-19; outpatients who are involved in frontline COVID-19 response (healthcare workers in hospitals or congregate living settings and public safety workers). If you are otherwise healthy with symptoms of fever or respiratory symptoms, please stay home, practice social distancing and use supportive care. Supportive care includes rest, fluids, using fever-reducing medications, and practicing social distancing. If you have other questions, please call our community health hotline at 847.432.5849 (847.HEALTH9) or schedule an e-visit.

I hear NorthShore has its own COVID-19 test. Can I be tested to see if I have COVID-19?

We are only providing testing to those patients who meet the CDC and IDPH criteria for testing—which is testing appropriate symptomatic individuals (people with symptoms). We are not routinely testing asymptomatic individuals (people with no symptoms).

If I test positive for COVID-19 and am then cleared of it, will I get it again?

Most similar diseases result in immunity, but there is not enough evidence yet to determine if recovery from COVID-19 guarantees immunity from future infection.

How much will it cost to get tested for COVID-19?

Testing at NorthShore University HealthSystem will come at no cost to patients. Uninsured will be offered free testing and follow up care will be managed through our financial assistance and charity program.  Those who are insured will not be responsible for any out-of-pocket costs related to being tested for COVID-19.

Government regulations require NorthShore to list “cash price” associated with COVID testing as follows:

  • COVID rapid test: $116
  • COVID High Throughput test: $230
  • Office Visit: $177-$371
  • ER visit: $875-$1,595
  • Flu test: $264
  • Chest X-Ray: $441
How many of your in-house COVID-19 tests can your lab process in one day?

We have the capacity to process 1,500 patient tests per day compared to 400 per day when we first launched our test on March 12. We’re looking to increase our testing capacity further. Daily test volumes depend heavily on the pandemic’s fluid and evolving nature. Our results continue to be available in under two days.


Donations from the Community

I would like to make a donation to NorthShore to help support the fight against COVID-19. How do I make a contribution?

NorthShore is appreciative and grateful for the outpouring of support from our community. We are currently accepting financial contributions through a special COVID-19 Response Fund. Click here to make a contribution. We are also accepting donations of select, critical supplies. Learn more about the supplies we need and the process to donate.

I have supplies that I would like to donate to NorthShore. How do I make that donation?

We are currently accepting select, critical supplies. Learn more about the supplies we need and the process to donate. Thank you for your generosity.


Tips for Everyone to Stay Healthy

What can I do to protect my health and safety?

There are several things we can all do to remain safe, healthy, and vigilant.

  • Clean your hands often. Wash hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Use sanitizer when washing is not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. If you do, please wash your hands.
  • Practice social distancing: 6 feet of distance between people. This means keep space between you and others in public spaces.
  • Avoid contact with people who seem ill.
  • Avoid social gatherings where social distancing cannot be practiced. Use technology such as FaceTime/video communication to keep in touch with loved ones.
  • Please remember that social distancing is essential.
  • Stay home if you are sick. Do not return to work until at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever without taking fever-reducing medications.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or in the crook of your arm; throw away used tissue and wash your hands.
  • Do NOT smoke or vape.


Where to Get Updated Information

Where can I find more information about coronavirus?

You may also access additional information from the following sites: