FREEPORT, ILLINOIS — In accordance with guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic, FHN continues to ask patients seeking routine care or with respiratory symptoms to stay at home rather than coming to FHN facilities. In addition, elective procedures have been rescheduled for future dates in order to minimize population density at FHN locations.
As a result of following this necessary guidance from IDPH and the CDC, daily patient visit numbers have dropped significantly at many FHN locations. In order to conserve resources, including staff time, some services and locations have been consolidated on a temporary basis. This includes closing some offices early and others completely until stay-at-home mandates change. Some providers and procedures also may be temporarily relocated in order to provide more patient distancing when possible.
Because these changes will fluctuate based on patient volumes, patients are urged to call their providers and/or provider offices in advance of any visit, planned or unplanned, to confirm the office schedule. Walk-in visits will not be possible or accepted at most locations. In an emergency, of course, the Emergency Department at FHN Memorial Hospital remains open 24/7; FHN remains committed to ensuring access to needed care.
Calling ahead also applies to FHN’s testing process for COVID-19, which also adheres to IDPH and CDC guidelines; no testing will be done without an appointment. Individuals who feel they may have symptoms of COVID-19 may self-screen their symptoms with FHN’s online screening tool at www.fhn.org or call FHN’s COVID-19 hotline at 815-599-6412.
Patients can call their providers anytime to ask questions or inquire about symptoms, and if enrolled in MyFHN, FHN’s free patient portal, can also email their provider in a secure messaging environment (if patients are not enrolled, they can easily do so following instructions at https://www.fhn.org/MyFHN.asp ). Anyone, including people who are not FHN patients, can also use FHNow, FHN’s telemedicine service, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Callers do not need to have an FHN provider, and can speak face-to-face with a healthcare provider via videoconference on phones, tablets, or laptop computers. It’s fast and easy to sign up – visit www.fhn.org/FHNow for instructions. (An online visit with FHNow is $59: more information is online at www.fhn.org.)
Please remember that at this time, there is no approved treatment or vaccine for COVID-19 so the best course of action is to work as a community to limit its spread. It has been proven that as many as 4 out of 5 cases of COVID-19 are transmitted through a person who has only mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, so it is easy for people to be carriers of the disease to others who are more at risk.
As reminders of how to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 …
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; if soap and water, which are preferred, are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with tissues, then toss tissues in trash; if you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper arm.
- Avoid touching anywhere on the face as much as possible.
- Practice social distancing; avoid contact with people who are sick (with any disease).
- STAY HOME if you are not feeling well.
- Stay current on orders from your health department and state regarding shelter-in-place or other mandates.
FHN, a not-for-profit organization with nearly 1,200 employees, is an award-winning regional healthcare system committed to the health and well-being of the people of northwest Illinois and southern Wisconsin. FHN Memorial Hospital has been recognized as one of the state’s top hospitals for safety by the Leapfrog group and Healthgrades as well as by the world’s largest, completely independent, non-profit product- and service-testing organization. FHN caregivers serve an average of 1,500 people each day across FHN’s 19 locations in 5 counties spanning northwest Illinois. Organized in 1995 as an integrated healthcare delivery system, FHN is comprised of FHN Memorial Hospital, the Leonard C. Ferguson Cancer Center at FHN Memorial Hospital, 13 family healthcare centers offering primary and specialty medical care, hospice, and outpatient mental health services. For more information about FHN, please visit www.fhn.org.