In the news...COVID-19 testing for people who have symptoms or believe they have been exposed to the virus is being offered Monday, July 6, and Tuesday, July 7 in Des Plaines, by Advocate Aurora Health.

Call 877-819-5034 or go to to determine if you qualify. Anyone wanting to be tested must register first, as appointments are required.

For updates on the pandemic, check:

Call:  1-800-889-3931, the COVID-19 information hotline, or email:

To have pandemic updates sent directly to your cell phone, text covid to 312-500-3836.

Phase 4 

Called the Revitalization Phase, Phase 4 began on June 26. It includes "gatherings of up to 50 people, the reopening of additional businesses and increased capacities."

Phase 4 guidelines for restarting include the reopening of the following, with social distancing and restrictions: bars and restaurants; museums; day camps; zoos; and theaters, cinemas and performing arts. An overview of the Phase 4 changes is available from the state.

Students to Return to School in Fall 2020

Students in public and private schools should be able to return to in-person classroom instruction this fall. All students must wear facial coverings, according to recommendations from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) on how to safely return to school buildings. If the novel coronavirus surges again, schools and districts must be prepared to return to remote learning.

Vote by Mail Expansion

A new law to expand the number of Illinoisans who can vote by mail this November requires election officials to send vote-by-mail applications regarding the November 3, 2020 general election to the 5 million people who voted in the 2018 general elections, the 2019 municipal elections or the March 2020 primary. 

Contact Tracing

Contact tracing is an important tool in the fight to reduce the spread of COVID-19, by trying to track down people who may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive.

The public is urged to answer calls from contact tracers. Beware of scammers, though. Contact tracers do not ask for money, or personal information, such as social security, bank account, or credit card numbers. If you are interested in working as a contact tracer, go to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).

Testing for COVID-19

The closest drive-through testing site to Des Plaines is several miles away in Rolling Meadows, at Rolling Meadows High School, 2901 Central Road. IDPH has a listing of public testing sites.

State Guidance on Religious Worship

IDPH issued guidance with respect to religious gatherings. These are not mandatory. Guidance recommendations include:

  •  drive-in services and remote services as the safest means of worshipping
  •  Congregating outdoors and/or in small groups of less than 10 people is part of "Relatively Safe Options for In-Person Worship."
  •  Indoors, gathering in groups of less than ten, with best practices that include no singing or group recitation. However if doing the latter two, increase social distance to at least 10 feet between groups and ensure face coverings are worn.

Long-Term Care Facilities 

COVID-19 has hit elderly Illinoisians especially hard. According to IDPH statistics, more than half of the state's 6,951 COVID-19 deaths to date represent residents of long-term care facilities.

Most of the roughly 1,100 long-term care facilities in Illinois are privately owned. IDPH emergency rules announced recently stipulate that each facility must develop its own testing plan, and establish a connection with a laboratory, among other directives. IDPH can issue violations to a facility found to be noncompliant. Typically that would mean a fine, but it can involve licensing, too. 

Mental Health/Medical Services

To deal with pandemic-induced stress, mental health resources are available through the state:

  • Call 4 Calm will connect you with a mental health professional; it's free and anonymous. For English, text talk to 552020. For Spanish, text hablar to 552020.
  • For help with a substance abuse disorder, call:  1-833-2findhelp.  Or, go to:
  • Those with COVID-19 symptoms who don't need in-patient care can get daily telehealth monitoring. There are three hotlines:  Northern Illinois:  1-866-443-2584... Central Illinois and Rockford: 1-833-673-5669...Southern and west central Illinois (+ Metro East):  1-217-545-5100.

Facial Coverings

A City of Des Plaines order also requires face coverings in public if 6 feet of distance cannot be kept. At the grocery store, on public transit, or while working/shopping at businesses. Exceptions include walking/running outside with social distancing, or if driving alone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows how to make a facial covering.

Additional Protective Measures

The CDC recently issued an updated release of its guidelines on going outside during this pandemic.

Also, wash your hands often (20 seconds), don't touch your face, and clean well-used surfaces. Use hand sanitizer that is at least 60 percent alcohol.

Additional COVID-19 Symptoms

After exposure, symptoms--there is a wide array--may appear in two to 14 days. People with the following symptoms or combination of-shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, and cough--may be infected. Or, at least two of:  fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell.

Get medical attention immediately for any of these four emergency warning signstrouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, or bluish lips or face. These four are not all inclusive.

Cases by Location

The IDPH site provides a breakdown by zip code and county of those infected.

COVID-19 by the numbers, as of Thursday

lllinois, IDPH:  144,013 confirmed cases, 6,951 deaths.  1,636,055 tested--the total number of people reported electronically for testing at IDPH, commercial or hospital laboratories. Probable cases:  1,053. Probable deaths:  201.  Recovery rate:  94%. Recovered cases defined as persons with initial positive specimen collection data more than 42 days, who have not died.

As of midnight,  1,651 people were hospitalized with COVID-19. Of those, 349 patients were in the intensive care unit (ICU).  195 of the ICU patients were on ventilators.

Nationwide, CDC:  2,679,230 total cases (54,357 new cases);  128,024 total deaths (725 new deaths).

Worldwide, as of Wednesday:  World Health Organization (WHO):  10,533,779 confirmed cases, 512,842 confirmed deaths, in 216 countries, areas, or territories with cases.

Visit the following sites for additional information about COVID-19 and how to deal with this emergency:


The death toll in Illinois due to vaping remains at five, according to IDPH.      

Help try to prevent suicides. Options include:

Here's the latest on the opioid crisis.


Considering a career in health? Oakton Community College's spring information sessions have been cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Contact the health career advisor directly.

Oakton also has Continuing Education for Health Professionals (CEHP).

Covid-19 Resources from Gale

Information on Covid-19 and temporary free access to several educational databases from Gale Cengage.

Health & Medicine Collection

A collection of eBooks on health & medicine.

Medigap from Weiss Ratings

Build Your Own Customized Medicare Supplement Insurance Planner. Get step-by-step guidance on how to select a Medigap insurance plan, which plans are right for you and which insurance company has the lowest rates. CLICK HERE to watch a video presentation from Weiss ratings.


You'll find article citations for all areas of medicine, mainly for the medical profession. Produced by the National Library of Medicine.

ReferenceUSA Health Care

Information on 650,000 U.S. physicians and dentists.