COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions
Every week, the DuPage County Health Department will be sharing the most frequently asked questions about the coronavirus pandemic to help educate and inform county residents.
- COVID-19 Vaccine
- Case Investigation and Contact Tracing Program
- DuPage County COVID-19 Test Site
- Resurgence Mitigation
DuPage County Health Department (DCHD)
Week of 1/15/21
This depends on whether or not you fall under the Phase 1a, 1b, or 1c guidelines as listed here: https://www.dph.illinois.gov/covid19/vaccination-plan. DuPage County Health Department (DCHD) and healthcare providers in the community are currently vaccinating healthcare personnel as part of Phase 1a and anticipate moving to Phase 1b in the coming weeks. Once in Phase 1b, we estimate nearly 270,000 individuals in DuPage will become eligible. With this large of a group, it may take about 12 weeks for all Phase 1b individuals to be vaccinated. Because it will take time to get this many people vaccinated, we are urging patience from our residents while we continue working to deliver as many vaccinations as quickly as possible through both the DCHD and a network of partner providers in the community.
What should I do now?
Currently, DuPage County Health Department (DCHD) asks any individuals living, working, or attending college/university in DuPage and interested in learning more about opportunities to become vaccinated for COVID-19 to sign-up for our weekly updates at www.dupagehealth.org/covid19vaccine. Signing up for these updates is not a registration for a vaccine. However, signing up allows DCHD to communicate with you efficiently as opportunities to become vaccinated by providers all over the county become available.
What is the Health Department’s plan for Phase 1b?
DuPage County Health Department is working with many different partners at all levels, including hospitals, healthcare providers, pharmacies, and community leaders to expand access to vaccine throughout numerous sites across DuPage County. Our goal is to make COVID-19 vaccine available in as many locations as possible as we prepare to move into Phase 1b in the coming weeks. As vaccine supply increases and additional vaccination sites become available, the Health Department expects the rate of vaccination will increase and more information will be available about the specific locations people will be able to go to schedule appointments for vaccine.
How much of the vaccine received in DuPage County has made it into people’s arms?
In the first four weeks of vaccination, DuPage County received 46,305 doses of vaccine, and 32,711 doses of vaccine were administered, which represents 71% of doses received being administered. Please note that not all received doses can be administered immediately as each week vaccinators must hold vaccine doses for upcoming appointments. Of the 32,711 doses administered in DuPage County as of January 11, DuPage County Health Department has administered 3,406 doses and other healthcare partners have administered 29,305 doses.
What are you doing to get people vaccinated more quickly?
The DuPage County Health Department (DCHD) is working diligently to increase the number of vaccines administered each week. Local healthcare partners are also planning and expanding additional opportunities. DCHD understands, very clearly, the need to expand the availability of the vaccine as the population to be vaccinated increases in Phase 1b. It will, even with the expansion, require patience and calm from our residents. We are working around the clock to ensure these efforts are successful and achieve high vaccine coverage levels across our communities.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
How is CDC working to make sure people want to and can get vaccinated once a COVID-19 vaccine is available?
Will there be enough vaccine for everyone?
The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as large quantities are available. Several thousand vaccination providers will be available, including doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals, and federally qualified health centers.
How long will it take for COVID-19 vaccines to take effect?
The COVID-19 vaccine is expected to provide some protection a couple of weeks after your first shot and reaches its greatest effectiveness after your second shot. It is very important to take the second shot within the recommended time period for maximum vaccine effectiveness.
Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH)
When can I get a COVID-19 vaccine?
The first supply of COVID-19 vaccine receiving Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began being distributed in the U.S. on December 14, 2020. Initial supplies of the vaccine will be limited, and therefore allocated to health care personnel and Long-term care (LTC) residents and staff. However, the vaccine supply will increase over time and all adults should be able to be vaccinated in 2021.
Where can I get the vaccine?
Initially, hospitals will provide COVID-19 vaccine to health care personnel. As more vaccine is distributed by the federal government, several thousand vaccination providers will be available, including but not limited to doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals, and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), across the state.
CDC is working with pharmacies to establish a system to offer on-site COVID-19 vaccination services to residents and staff in LTC settings, including skilled nursing facilities, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities where most individuals are over 65 years of age.
Is a COVID-19 vaccine safe?
The U.S. vaccine safety system is a deliberate and multi-phase process to ensure all vaccines are as safe as possible. Safety is a top priority. Vaccine candidates conduct clinical trials with many thousands of study participants to generate scientific data and other information for the FDA to determine their safety and effectiveness.
If the FDA determines a vaccine meets its safety and effectiveness standards, it can make these vaccines available for use in the U.S. by approval or Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). After the FDA makes its determination, ACIP will review the available data in order to make vaccine recommendations to the CDC. ACIP will then recommend vaccine use. After a vaccine is authorized or approved for use, vaccine safety monitoring systems will watch for adverse events (possible side effects). CDC is working to expand safety surveillance through
Can the COVID-19 vaccine cause me to become infected or infect others?
No, you cannot become infected or infect others from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, because the vaccine contains no live virus. Instead, the vaccine directs your body to produce a protein that teaches your body how to fight off the virus.
Do I have to get a COVID-19 vaccine?
There is no federal or state mandate to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC recommends the vaccine to all Americans 16 and over.
Can my employer require that I receive a COVID-19 vaccine before returning to work?
Decisions regarding immunization at private workplaces are up to the employer.
Case Investigation and Contact Tracing Program
Are you a volunteer?
Each person you speak to is a trained Case Investigation and Contact Tracing (CICT) specialist employed by the DuPage County Health Department (DCHD). These specialists undergo a rigorous 2-week training to learn the intricate processes of disease surveillance, interviewing skills and techniques, how to navigate our electronic system, and identify local resources to provide to cases and close contacts, as needed, to reduce spread of COVID-19.
Why do you ask me so many questions? How are you going to use the information I provide?
Because COVID-19 is still a novel virus, information collected regarding symptoms, locations visited, and close contacts helps public health learn more about this virus and how it spreads throughout the community. The information provided helps:
Is DCHD able to do outreach to all cases and close contacts in our area? What are we doing with businesses/schools (what type of outreach)?
The CICT specialists at DCHD are working tirelessly to reach every COVID-19 case in DuPage County, as well as close contacts, as capacity allows. With state and federal funding support, DCHD has significantly expanded our workforce to be able to complete this important work to prevent further spread of COVID-19 within households, schools, workplaces, and the community.
The Health Department also has dedicated COVID-19 response teams to follow-up directly with businesses and educational institutions within DuPage County. These teams provide initial public health guidance and resources, including recommendations for isolation and quarantine for cases and contacts, respectively, as well as symptom monitoring, anticipatory guidance, infection prevention and environmental cleaning/disinfection, and communication templates for close contacts and low-risk contacts.
Why do I need to quarantine after my household confirmed case is done with isolation (if not able to be separate during isolation period)? Does it really take up to 14 days to show symptoms/test positive?
The incubation period (i.e., time from exposure to onset of illness or infection) of the virus that causes COVID-19 is 2-14 days. If you have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, it is important you quarantine away from others for the full 14 days to monitor for any development of symptoms. This is crucial in slowing the spread of COVID-19 to your friends, family, and ultimately to the community.
DuPage County COVID-19 Test Site
Why is the DuPage County COVID-19 Test Site closing so much earlier now?
We’ve seen an unprecedented demand for testing. Back in September, the test site was averaging around 300 tests per day. During the last few weeks, we are consistently meeting our test capacity of 600 tests per day. As people arrive, staff records the number of visitors on-site. Once 600 people are tallied, the gates are closed.
Why is the daily test capacity set for 600?
The 600 daily test capacity is based on support from the State of Illinois, test lab capacity, and our ability to staff the test site appropriately.
Shouldn’t test capacity be increased to meet the high demand we are seeing?
The Health Department is working with municipalities and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to provide state-run mobile testing sites in DuPage County to increase testing capacity. More information can be found at www.dupagehealth.org/covid19testing
I have symptoms and need to get a COVID-19 test. Is this test site my only option?No, if you have a primary care provider, you should call and make an appointment to be tested through your doctor.Often, doctor’s offices can have results available much sooner and will follow-up after your results are received to answer any questions that you have and provide additional education.
Other testing locations can be found at dph.illinois.gov/testing
General testing information as well as mobile COVID-19 testing site locations can be found at www.dupagehealth.org/covid19testing
About how long will it take to receive my results from the test site? What should I do while I wait?
Generally, test results are received in 3-4 days. If you are tested because you have symptoms or are identified as a close contact, please stay home and quarantine. Even if you test negative for COVID-19 or feel healthy, you should continue to stay home for the 14 days after your last exposure to the infected person since symptoms may appear 2 to n14 days after.
In addition, if you are an employee, you should
Why are restaurants and bars being “singled out” during regional mitigation?
Restaurants and bars are considered environments where transmission can occur at higher levels due to more social gatherings indoors without physical distancing, tighter spaces and inherent removing of masks for eating and drinking, while talking and releasing droplets in close proximity over the course of one to two hours. According to a recent CDC study, “Adults with confirmed COVID-19 (case-patients) were approximately twice as likely as were control-participants to have reported dining at a restaurant in the 14 days before becoming ill. In addition to dining at a restaurant, case-patients were more likely to report going to a bar/coffee shop”.
What are the metrics that the Governor’s office is using to identify restaurants as a setting to minimize gatherings (rather than grocery stores, retail, etc.)?
Guiding Principles to Keep in Mind
Isn't it obvious that if the super spreader events, like large home gatherings, are the major cause of the increase of the virus, that eliminating restaurants would only cause more people to gather together in homes, where social distancing and mask wearing would certainly not be followed, as they are in restaurants?
First, we need to limit any form of indoor gatherings as much as possible, including in both homes and restaurants/bars. We must emphasize preventive actions in all indoor settings, and one should not come at the expense of the other. Practicing the 3 W’s (wear a mask, watch your distance by keeping at least 6-feet apart, and wash your hands) always is vitally important if congregating with others outside your household in any setting. Unfortunately, with current community transmission at a very high level, it remains difficult to definitively identify true sources of exposure in many instances and it is challenging to ensure people are using masks correctly throughout the duration of social gatherings in any setting. Staying connected virtually with family and friends is encouraged as much as possible to prevent COVID-19 spread.
Do the mitigation measures impact drive-thru, take-out or delivery for restaurants?
No. Mitigations do not restrict take-out, drive-thru, or delivery options for restaurants. The guidance only provides for additional operating restrictions for indoor dining.
Do bars and restaurants need to stop accepting customers at 11:00 p.m., or do they have to clear the premises by 11:00 p.m.?
All patrons must be off the premises by 11:00 p.m. and may reopen at 6:00 a.m. or later. Drive-thru, carry out, and delivery service is still permitted after 11:00 p.m., but customers must depart after obtaining their food and there should not be congregation of customers outside of the restaurant after closure time.
Does the limit of 25 people in a gathering apply to outdoor events?
Yes, gatherings must be kept to lesser than 25 guests or 25% of overall room capacity both indoors and outdoors see: dceocovid19resources.com/assets/Restore-Illinois/COVID-19-Resurgence-Migitations.pdf
Does the limit of 25 people in a gathering apply to churches?
Organizers of religious gatherings are encouraged to follow the mitigation measures by limiting gatherings to 25% capacity or 25 persons, whichever is less. Additionally, places of worship are recommended to follow IDPH guidance on social and physical distancing posted here: www.dph.illinois.gov/covid19/communityguidance/places-worship-guidance For this and other FAQs regarding the resurgence mitigations see www2.illinois.gov/dceo/Documents/Essential%20Business%20FAQ.pdf (start on page 9)
Are tents permissible for outdoor dining?
Subject to any required municipal and/or local liquor commission restrictions and approval requirements, tents may be used for outdoor dining if at least two sides of the tent are open to allow airflow.
If more than two sides of the tent are enclosed, this is considered indoors for purposes of the guidelines.
If I’ve had close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19, do I need to be tested?
Yes. If you have been in close contact, such as within 6 feet of a person with documented SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) infection for at least 15 minutes during the infectious period of the person with COVID-19, you need a diagnostic test 5-7 days after your exposure to see if you have current infection. Please consult with your healthcare provider or public health official. Testing is recommended for all close contacts of persons with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Because of the potential for asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission, it is important that contacts of individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection be quickly identified and tested. Pending test results, you should self-quarantine/isolate at home and stay separated from household members to the extent possible and use a separate bedroom and bathroom, if available. A single negative test does not mean you will remain negative at any time point after that test.
Even if you have a negative test, you should still stay home for 14 days and monitor yourself for symptoms.
How do you determine quarantine for a household contact?
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) examples illustrate four different scenarios:
Do contacts to a contact that are not household contacts need to quarantine?
No, only people who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 (excluding people who have had COVID-19 within the past 3 months) need to quarantine.
People who have tested positive for COVID-19 do not need to quarantine or get tested again for up to 3 months as long as they do not develop symptoms again. People who develop symptoms again within 3 months of their first bout of COVID-19 may need to be tested again if there is no other cause identified for their symptoms.
What counts as close contact?
How do I get a Release from Quarantine letter?
Call (312) 777-1999 or contact your school for a Quarantine Release Letter.
My staff member tested positive for COVID-19; when can they return to work? Additionally, a few of my employees were close contacts to the positive case. Do they need to do anything? If they test negative can they come back to work?
Your positive staff member must isolate through a minimum of 10 days after their symptom onset date (or through 10 days after their first positive diagnostic test date, if without symptoms). Isolation may be discontinued after those 10 days as long as they at least 24 hours have passed without a fever (without use fever-reducing medicine) and their COVID-19 symptoms are improving.
Close contacts must quarantine for 14 days from their last exposure to the person with COVID-19. They MAY NOT return sooner than 14 days, even if they test negative for COVID-19.
Am I required to report COVID-19 cases to the DuPage County Health Department? Doesn’t the doctor’s office report this to you?
Yes, you are required to report any COVID-19 case that you are aware of associated with your business/workplace. Doctors’ offices and testing sites do report cases to the health department for the jurisdiction where they reside, but we want to ensure that we don’t miss a single case. Additionally, the Health Department wants to discuss next steps with a business that has a COVID-19 case and provide educational materials and public health recommendations in a timely manner. If you have more than one case in your facility within a 14 day period, that may be considered an outbreak and we will work with you regarding reporting and next steps.
Please see link for information on reporting rules:
Where can I find additional resources for places/events other than restaurant guidance?
You can find many helpful resources at the links below:
Last Updated: 1/15/21