Coronavirus (COVID-19) Preparedness | Loyola Medicine

COVID-19 Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Loyola Medicine follows the Cook County Department of Public Health prioritization plan and is currently in category 1a for distribution. (Loyola is not located in the City of Chicago so does not follow the city health department’s plan.
 

Are approved vaccines available?

The FDA has given emergency use authorization to the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. The approval from the FDA of a vaccine not only releases the vaccine for distribution, but is an endorsement of the vaccine's safety, which means we can confidently encourage you and others to get the vaccine.

How effective are the approved vaccines?

The Pfizer vaccine has demonstrated to be 95% effective. It is a two-dose series given 21 days apart and, is administered by injection and is approved for patients 16 years and older.

The Moderna vaccine has demonstrated to be 94.5% effective. It is a two-dose series given 28 days apart, is administered by injection and is approved for patients 18 years and older.

After the first shot, both vaccines require a “booster shot” to gain the highest level of protection.

I have a medical condition. Can I get the vaccine?

Discuss your medical condition and the vaccine with your doctor for a personalized recommendation.

I am pregnant, can I get the vaccine?

Those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should talk with their obstetrician about the vaccine. Please review this statement about Vaccinating Pregnant and Lactating Patients against COVID-19 from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

When can I get the vaccine?

Supplies are based upon when the state delivers vaccines to Loyola and other vaccine centers. Eligibility is determined by the prioritization outlined below.

COVID vaccine prioritization

Please note that as we move through the phases, distribution will overlap.

Illinois COVID phases

CDC – Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) Phased Approach for Vaccine Allocation (12/20 update)

Recommendations on vaccines for young children will not be available until more studies are completed.

When can I schedule an appointment to get the vaccine at Loyola?

As the vaccine becomes available to more people, we will share the information broadly through this website, our social media accounts, direct emails, calls and text messages to eligible patients and other channels.

The best way to stay informed and schedule your vaccine as soon as possible is through myLoyola. We encourage patients to sign up for myLoyola if they have not already done so.

You can also register with Cook County Department of Public Health to get a vaccine.

Where are Loyola’s vaccine clinics?

Vaccinations are available for those eligible at Loyola University Medical Center, Gottlieb Memorial Hospital and MacNeal Hospital.

Can I get my second vaccine at a different location?

No.  All patients should receive both doses of the same vaccine from the same provider.

This will help the Dept. of Public Health track and allocate vaccine doses accurately to providers participating in vaccine administration.

Do I need to wear a mask when I receive a vaccine or after being vaccinated?

Yes. The CDC recommends that during the pandemic people wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth when in contact with others outside your household, when in health care facilities, and when receiving any vaccine, including a COVID-19 vaccine.

Will the vaccine be given without cost?

Vaccine doses purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be given at no cost. However, vaccination providers will be able to charge an administration fee for giving the shot to someone. Vaccine providers can get this fee reimbursed by the patient’s public or private insurance company or, for uninsured patients, by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund.

If I already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, you still need to get the vaccine to be protected from COVID-19.

If I currently have COVID-19, should I get the vaccine?

No, you should wait until you are cleared by your physician to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

What percentage of the population needs to get vaccinated to have herd immunity to COVID-19?

Experts do not know what percentage of people would need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity to COVID-19. Herd immunity is a term used to describe when enough people have protection—either from previous infection or vaccination—that it is unlikely a virus or bacteria can spread and cause disease. As a result, everyone within the community is protected even if some people don’t have any protection themselves. The percentage of people who need to have protection in order to achieve herd immunity varies by disease.

What if I have a reaction to the vaccine?

Anyone experiencing a reaction to the COVID vaccine, or any vaccine, should contact their doctor. 

If you have reaction to a COVID Vaccine, please file a report through the V-Safe system (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety/vsafe.html) or VAERS (https://vaers.hhs.gov/). This will help support public health officials and the scientific community in studying reactions to vaccines.

What is COVID?

COVID-19 is a new or novel, coronavirus. It is highly contagious. COVID-19 is transmitted person-to-person, with illnesses ranging from mild to severe. Person-to-person spread means being in close contact with an infected person or through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. We are learning new information about this virus every day, including what is effective in stopping the spread and potential treatments.

Older people, especially those with a history of underlying health conditions such as heart disease or diabetes, seem to be at the greatest risk of complications if exposed to the coronavirus.

Symptoms

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure*:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of these symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

If you feel sick with a fever, cough, have difficulty breathing, or if you have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, please call our Patient Access Center at 888-584-7888, Monday through Friday from 7 am – 4:30 pm.

*According to the CDC

What to Do if You Feel Sick

If you have a fever, trouble breathing or are coughing, call your doctor or a health care provider to set up an appointment to be tested. As a first step, please explain your symptoms over the phone before going to the doctor’s office, an immediate care center or emergency department.

Make sure to tell your doctor if you have traveled internationally. You should also mention if you have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19:

  • There are some treatments (Remdesivir and Dexamethasone for example)—but no cure—for COVID-19 today.
  • Several other potential therapies, such as convalescent plasma, are being studied, including at Loyola Medicine.
  • Hydroxychloroquine has NOT been proven to be effective, as demonstrated by several randomized clinical trials. Patients may possibly become even more sick on this therapy.

PROTECTING YOURSELF AGAINST COVID-19

  • Wear masks anytime your leave your home, anytime you are with anyone outside of your household, in all indoor spaces and in all outdoor and public places where other people are present.  
  • Physical distance yourself from others by standing or sitting at least six feet apart. Avoid crowds, events or activities with small, medium and large gatherings.
  • Washing your hands is the most effective thing you can do to slow the spread of COVID-19.

It is essential that you stay home if you feel ill.

Loyola Medicine’s Commitment to Safety

Loyola is committed to using the best available clinical evidence to care for COVID-19 patients. Ultimately, we prefer that all treatments, therapies and vaccines must undergo randomized, double blind clinical trials with enough numbers of patients to justify their safe and effective use in clinical protocols.

Loyola follows all available clinical evidence and guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to protect our patients using personal protective equipment (PPE), and frequently cleaning our patient rooms, treatment areas and common spaces at all our facilities.

Loyola is participating in research protocols and will clinical care protocols and processes that provide the best and safe care to patients.

How Loyola Medicine Is Prepared

Loyola Medicine is collaborating with the CDC and the Illinois Department of Public Health to ensure the safety of our patients, staff and visitors. Our staff has been trained on how to screen for and proceed with care for possible cases of COVID-19.

Screening for COVID-19 and Next Steps for Potential Cases

Health care providers at Loyola obtain a detailed symptom history for patients being evaluated with fever and acute respiratory illness. Patients are considered high risk for the coronavirus if they have had exposure to confirmed COVID-19, patient being evaluated for COVID-19 or recently returned from areas outside the U.S. with widespread transmission of fever and severe respiratory illness.

Isolation: Patients who are under investigation for novel coronavirus will be provided a mask and moved to an airborne infection isolation room (AIIR) or private room, with Precautions sign placed on room entry door.

Patient Isolation Practices

Protecting our patients is our priority during the COVID-19 pandemic. As we have learned more about COVID-19, we have adjusted our patient isolation practices. We now know that some patients who have had COVID-19 may continue to have lingering symptoms, including cough and shortness of breath. Others may continue to test positive on COVID-19 tests (PCR - polymerase chain reaction tests) for weeks after first becoming infected. We also now know that these patients do not remain contagious for longer periods.

Multiple studies support the following:

  • Persons with mild COVID-19 infection stop being infectious by 10 days after their first symptoms (or after their first positive test if they did not experience symptoms).
     
  • Persons with severe COVID-19 stop being infectious by 20 days after their initial symptoms (or after their first positive test if they did not experience symptoms). This is also true of patients who have weakened immune systems due to certain medications or health conditions.

After these initial periods, studies have shown that patients are not contagious, even family members in the home are no longer at risk for infection.

When hospitalized patients at a Loyola Medicine hospital complete their isolation period, they are moved out of a COVID-19 Isolation Unit and into general patient rooms. This is similar to what occurs outside the hospital where a person is allowed to return to work, school or resume community interaction after completing a home quarantine period. Because the person is no longer contagious, we no longer need to isolate them from staff or separate them from other patients. They may eventually move into a shared room with another patient.

Your safety and that of all those we care for is our most important priority.

Safety Precautions at Loyola Medicine

Enhanced safety and cleanliness protocols are in place at all Loyola facilities to protect our patients and visitors, physicians, providers and support staff.

Everyone entering our facilities is screened for symptoms of COVID-19 and required to wear masks at all times. If they do not have a mask, we offer masks to wear to prevent the spread of infection to others.

In addition: 

  • All inpatients are screened for COVID-19 and all patients undergoing an elective surgery or procedure are tested for COVID-19 the day before or the day of the surgery or procedure.
  • If the patient tests positive, their procedure will be postponed until clinically appropriate.
  • We also are following the CDC’s standards with increased cleaning, with special attention to surfaces that are frequently touched, like doorknobs and flat surfaces.
  • We are continuing safe physical distancing measures wherever possible.

Visitor Restrictions

Visitor badge iconVisitor Restrictions - Hospitals

 

 

Visitor badge iconVisitor Restrictions - Outpatient Centers

 

How to Quarantine

Homes and Residential Communities

This guidance may help prevent COVID from spreading among people in their homes and in other residential communities.

The following guidance applies to:

  • People with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, including persons under investigation (PUI), who do not need to be hospitalized and who can receive care at home.
  • People with confirmed COVID-19, who were hospitalized and then determined to be medically stable to go home.
  • Household members, intimate partners, and caregivers in a non-health care setting of a person with symptomatic, laboratory-confirmed COVID-19.
  • People with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 who do not need to be hospitalized.
  • People with confirmed COVID-19 who were hospitalized and determined to be medically stable to go home.

Your doctor and public health staff will evaluate whether you can be cared for at home (this may be an over-the-phone evaluation of your travel history, exposure history and symptoms). If it is determined that you do not need to be hospitalized and can be isolated at home but have high risk or known exposure to COVID-19, you will be asked to self-quarantine. Your local or state health department may check in on you.

Follow these prevention steps until your doctor or local or state health department says you can return to your normal activities.

Prevention

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day.
  • Monitor your symptoms.
  • Discontinuing home isolation.
  • Stay home except to get medical care.
  • You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care. Do not go to work, school, or public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing or taxis.
  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home.
  • People: As much as possible, you should stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available.

Animals

You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a facemask.

Call ahead before visiting your doctor.

If you have a medical appointment, call your provider and tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.

Wear a face mask

You should wear a face mask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) or pets and before you enter a health care provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a mask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then people who live with you should not stay in the same room with you, or they should wear a mask if they enter your room. If they must be in the same room without a mask, then keep your distance from them (e.g., separation of six feet or more).

Cover your coughs and sneezes

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw used tissues in a lined trash can; immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60 to 95% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.

Clean your hands often

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60 to 95% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid sharing personal household items

You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels or bedding with other people or pets in your home. After using these items, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water.

Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day

High-touch surfaces include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables. Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool or body fluids on them. Use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the label instructions. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.

Monitor your symptoms

Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (e.g., difficulty
breathing). Before seeking care, call your doctor and tell them that you have, or are being evaluated for, COVID-19. Put on a face mask before you enter the facility. These steps will help the provider’s office keep other people in the office or waiting room from getting infected or exposed. Ask your provider to call the local or state health department. Persons who are placed under active monitoring or facilitated self-monitoring should follow instructions provided by their local health department or occupational health professionals, as appropriate.

If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you have, or are being evaluated for COVID-19. If possible, put on a mask before emergency medical services arrive.

Discontinuing home isolation

Patients with confirmed COVID-19 should remain under home isolation precautions until the risk of secondary transmission to others is thought to be low. The decision to discontinue home isolation precautions should be made on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with health care providers and state and local health departments.

Recommended precautions for household members, intimate partners, and caregivers in a non-health care setting of persons with COVID-19 or persons being evaluated for COVID-19

Household members, intimate partners, and caregivers in a non-health care setting may have close contact with a person with symptomatic, laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 or a person being evaluated for COVID-19. Close contacts should monitor their health; they should call their doctor right away if they develop symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 (e.g., fever, cough, shortness of breath) .

Close contacts should also follow these recommendations:  

  • Household members should stay in another room or be separated from the person with COVID-19 as much as possible and use a separate bedroom and bathroom, if available.
  • Prohibit visitors who do not have an essential need to be in the home.
  • Household members should care for any pets in the home. Do not handle pets or other animals while sick. _Make sure that shared spaces in the home have good air flow, such as by an air conditioner or an opened window, weather permitting.
  • Perform hand hygiene frequently. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60 to 95% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • You and the person with COVID-19 should wear a mask if you are in the same room.
  • Avoid sharing household items with the person with COVID-19. You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding or other items. After the person with COVID-19 uses these items, wash them thoroughly.
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces, such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables, every day. Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool or body fluids on them.
    • Use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the label instructions. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.
  • Wash laundry thoroughly.
    • Immediately remove and wash clothes or bedding that have blood, stool or body fluids on them.
    • Wear disposable gloves while handling soiled items and keep soiled items away from your body. Clean your hands (with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer) immediately after removing your gloves.
    • Read and follow directions on labels of laundry or clothing items and detergent. In general, using a normal laundry detergent according to washing machine instructions and dry thoroughly using the warmest temperatures recommended on the clothing label.
  • Place all used disposable gloves, masks and other contaminated items in a lined container before disposing of them with other household waste. Clean your hands (with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer) immediately after handling these items. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Discuss any additional questions with your state or local health department or health care provider. 

Protect Yourself from COVID

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid exposure. In general, we recommend taking the following precautions to avoid exposure:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the restroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  •  If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60-95% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Facemasks:  The CDC recommends that people who are well wear a cloth facemask when going out in public, especially to places where social distancing is difficult (i.e., grocery stores, pharmacies) to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.

Precautions You Can Take if You Have COVID-19

You can take precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. If you have or suspect you have COVID-19, follow the steps below to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community:

  • Stay home except to get medical care
  • Separate yourself from other people and animals
  • Wear a face mask
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes
  • Wash or sanitize your hands often
  • Avoid sharing personal items
  • Clean all "high-touch" surfaces everyday
  • Monitor any symptoms you might be experiencing
  • If you feel sick with fever, cough, have difficulty breathing, or if you have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, please call our Patient Access Center at 888-584-7888, Monday through Friday from 7 am – 4:30 pm.

Doctor's Appointments

You may be afraid anytime you need to visit a hospital or receive medical care, and we understand this is a more concerning time than usual. We are here for you and are committed to keeping you safe while you get the medical care you need.

To schedule your surgery, procedure or physician visit, please call 888-584-7888. 

We are also offering telehealth services for select primary and specialty care services (routine check-ups and non-urgent care). Telehealth is virtual health care, allowing you to receive the same care you would get in an in-person clinic visit from the comfort of your home. Visit our website’s online appointment page to learn more about telehealth service options available at Loyola Medicine.

Monetary Donations

Loyola Medicine COVID-19 Medical Response Fund

The Loyola Medicine COVID-19 Medical Response Fund will address the greatest needs related to our regional COVID-19 response. Gifts to this fund will be available to support critical needs related to equipment, supplies, personnel, capital projects, telehealth, technology and operational expenses.

Loyola Medicine Colleague Assistance Fund

The Loyola Medicine Colleague Assistance Fund will assist employees who experience sudden, urgent financial hardship. Gifts to this fund will be available to provide assistance including childcare, elder care, housing, medical, utilities and other basic living expenses

COVID-19 Symptom Checker

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