The COVID-19 vaccine is a critical tool to safely reach the other side of this pandemic. Through efficient and effective distribution of the vaccine, we can suppress the spread of the virus, save as many lives as possible, and rebuild our economy. Illinois will only distribute a vaccine that is deemed safe. As we move through phases of vaccine distribution, the administration will ensure it reaches Illinoisans as quickly as possible using an equity-centric approach as we have done throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As we move forward, it is critical that Illinoisans continue to follow public health recommendations to suppress the spread of the virus until vaccines are ready for widespread distribution.
On December 2, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new options for public health authorities to consider for establishing quarantine time frames for contacts of persons with SARS-CoV-2. Click here to review the full details on these new options.
The CDC currently recommends a quarantine period of 14 days. Further, local public health authorities determine and establish quarantine options for their jurisdictions and may decide to continue using a 14-day period and/or shortened options for certain lower risk close contacts. However, the following options to shorten quarantine are acceptable alternatives:
This interim guidance provides guidelines for nursing homes and other long-term care (LTC) facilities on the appropriate use of essential caregivers (ECs) to provide companionship and assist residents with activities of daily living.
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Mental health and crisis support
Illinois Call4Calm Text Line (24/7)
If you or a loved one are struggling with stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic and need emotional support, text TALK to 552020 for English or HABLAR for Spanish (Message and Data Rates May Apply. See Terms and Conditions of Use). People seeking assistance remain anonymous and provide only their first name and ZIP code, which enables the service to link them to a counselor in the area who is knowledgeable about available local resources.
Health care providers are strongly encouraged to test for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), when patients present with any signs or symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or have had a known exposure to a person with COVID-19 infection. Due to the nonspecific clinical presentation of COVID-19 and the potential for co-infection with other pathogens, every symptomatic person should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and testing decisions should be based on the patient’s personal health history. Because many COVID-19 cases have been observed in persons who originally discounted their symptoms due to other existing health conditions, e.g., allergies, prompt and early diagnosis of COVID-19 infection is strongly recommended to prevent further transmission.
This interim guidance addresses the use of COVID-19 antigen testing in long-term care (LTC) facilities and is aligned with guidance released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted emergency use authorization to antigen point-of-care (POC) testing systems to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2 viral protein.
All categories of long-term care facilities covered by this guidance document should follow the recommendations provided, with modifications for specific categories of facilities and programs as provided below.
Assisted living facilities and other similar arrangements
For Assisted Living Facilities (ALF), Shared Housing Establishments (SHE), Sheltered Care Facilities, and Supportive Living Facilities (SLF), the following modifications are recommended:
In CMS Phases 1 and 2, the general visitation rules apply to visitation at these facilities. In CMS Phase 3, facilities should follow these modifications:
Implement strategies to optimize current personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies even before shortages occur, including bundling patient/resident care and treatment activities to minimize entries into patient/resident rooms.
Long-term care facilities (LTCF) may allow outdoor visitation for residents under certain conditions. Visits must be limited to two visitors at a time per resident. The maximum number of residents and visitors permitted in the outdoor space at one time is predicated on the size of the outdoor space. The LTCF must ensure a minimum distancing of 6 feet is achievable in the outdoor space when determining the maximum number of residents and visitors who can simultaneously occupy the outdoor space. The LTCF must clearly communicate and enforce social distancing of 6 feet between the resident and visitors. The facility must establish the maximum number of visitors allowed in a single day.