skip to main content
MyCarle
A A
Main Site Navigation
Top of main content
Portrait of young woman putting on a protective mask

COVID-19 FAQs

Carle wants to keep you informed of rapidly changing guidance and encourages people to use the Carle COVID-19 hotline at (217) 902-6100 to have your COVID-19 questions answered.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


What is Carle's current hospital visitor policy?
FOR THE SAFETY OF PATIENTS, STAFF AND COMMUNITY, CARLE LIMITS VISITORS AND SUPPORT PEOPLE IN OUR FACILITIES. Please see our full visiting policy here.


How do you screen for COVID-19 at Carle?

Our organization has plans in place to assess patients virtually before they enter a healthcare facility.

Patient and approved visitor symptom screening takes place at all public entrances. Everyone (patients, visitors and staff) must be masked on entry. Those without a mask will be provided one.

Carle can assess your symptoms over the phone and direct you to the appropriate location.

Patients may use our online COVID-19 screening tool at carle.org. A smart form will guide patients through a series of questions to assess their symptoms and risk and provide guidance on how, where or if a patient should seek care.

Patients may call the Carle COVID-19 hotline at (217) 902-6100.


Where can I get tested for COVID-19?

It remains Carle’s top priority to best care for our community by promptly identifying the COVID-19 virus while minimizing exposure to others.

If think you have COVID-19, contact the COVID hotline to share your symptoms and get direction for seeking appropriate care and testing as needed.

A positive test for a mildly ill, otherwise healthy person will not change how your doctor will care for you but will protect others.

Like other healthcare organizations, Carle has opened a designated a testing COVID-19 site for approved patients and your provider will offer direction.

Pediatric testing: please review the pediatric testing resource to help you prepare your child for their COVID-19 test.

In order to get patients their test results as quickly as possible, Carle will release a negative COVID-19 result automatically through MyCarle shortly after the results are available to their providers. In most cases, this is 24-48 hours. A text or email prompts the patient to login to view results. If a patient doesn’t have MyCarle, they receive a mailed letter. If a patient tests positive for COVID-19, the appropriate public health department will contact the patient directly.

Who can be tested for COVID-19?
Carle’s top priority remains to best care for our community by promptly identifying the COVID-19 virus while minimizing exposure to others.

If you think you have COVID-19, contact the COVID hotline to share your symptoms and get direction for seeking appropriate care and testing as needed. 

Like other healthcare organizations, Carle has opened a designated a testing COVID-19 site for approved patients and your provider will offer direction. Please contact the Hotline or receive approval you’re your provider before entering an approved testing site.

Pediatric testing: please review the pediatric testing resource to help you prepare your child for their COVID-19 test.

In order to get patients their test results as quickly as possible, Carle will release a negative COVID-19 result automatically through text message service. If enrolled, you will also receive results in MyCarle after your provider reviews them. In most cases, this is 24-48 hours. A text or email prompts the patient to login to view results. If a patient doesn’t have MyCarle, they receive a phone or a mailed letter. If a patient tests positive for COVID-19, the appropriate public health department will contact the patient directly.

I’m having surgery at Carle, what do I need to know?
Following state guidelines, Carle is performing elective surgeries and procedures.

What steps is Carle taking to ensure patients are not exposed to COVID-19 when seeking elective procedure care?

  • Before a surgery or procedure, testing is required for all patients who are not fully vaccinated, have had a known exposure, or have COVID-19 symptoms prior to the planned procedure. A COVID-19 test is required within 72 hours prior to your procedure.
    • A negative test is required for all non-emergent cases for this population. 
    • You must follow CDC guidance regarding wearing masks and maintaining social distancing once COVID-19 test has been obtained prior to surgery. 
    • Your provider will give you specific details on how to obtain your COVID-19 test.
  • On the day of surgery or procedure, all staff will be wearing proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). A face covering will be given to patients if they do not bring one to their appointment and patients will be screened for COVID symptoms.
  • Surgery or Procedure patients are limited to one visitor, but are encouraged to have drivers drop off patients and receive updates via cell phone.
  • Visitors will be directed to the waiting room. Approved support persons assisting patients with medical conditions or who are accompanying pediatric patients will continue to the pre-procedure room as directed by staff. The waiting room accommodates social distancing.


Will every patient seeking elective care be tested for COVID-19?
No. Only those patients undergoing invasive procedures, who are not fully vaccinated, have had a known exposure, or have COVID-19 symptoms prior to the planned procedure will be tested for COVID-19 prior to their surgery/procedure. Most In-office appointments and procedures do not require a COVID-19 test prior to treatment.

Even with local testing, we understand that there is local spread of COVID-19 and that this situation will continue to evolve in the region.


What qualifies as fully vaccinated? 
Patients are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 two weeks (14 days) after they have received the second dose in a two-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), or a single dose vaccine (Johnson and Johnson/Janssen). 

  • Patients are not required to quarantine at home, but must follow CDC guidelines.
  • Patients will continue to be screened for symptoms the day of the procedure/surgery.

Why is Carle no longer requiring testing on fully vaccinated patients?
Carle is following Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines released on April 30, 2021.


What are you doing to keep employees safe?
Carle has taken many steps to provide the safest environment possible for team members. The most visible is to provide more Personal Protective Equipment or PPE and adjusting processes to accommodate social distancing’s the organization resumes services, additional sanitizing and other precautions will be a strong focus area.


Can I have close family or friends go with my to my appointment, or visit me in the hospital during my stay?
Following the same procedures as other hospitals in the region and in the U.S., and at the guidance of public health, visitors are limited. We need to limit the spread of illness and protect our patients and staff so we can care for all who need.

Please refer to our complete visitor policy.


Will insurance cover the cost of the COVID-19 test I need before my procedure?

Please refer to our COVID-19 Billing FAQs. 


Will my pre-operative and post-operative visits be in-person or virtual? If they are virtual, are they covered by insurance?

When possible, pre-operative and post-operative visits may be held virtually to prevent the spread of germs and reduce contact. Your healthcare provider will assess your specific case and work with you directly to determine which kind of visit is best for you. We recommend that you contact your health insurance carrier for specifics on your benefit coverage.


I was laid off due to COVID-19, and am concerned I cannot cover out-of-pocket expenses related to a surgery or procedure that is already planned; what should I do?

Please refer to our COVID-19 Billing FAQs.


I live out of the area, but am coming to Carle for my procedure or surgery. Can I be tested for COVID-19 at a healthcare provider near my home that is not a Carle facility?

If you live out of the area and wish to get your required COVID-19 test at a location that is not a Carle facility, staff will need one business day to receive your test results.

If your surgery is scheduled on a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday and you want to get your COVID-19 test at a non-Carle location, please discuss this with our staff to ensure Carle will receive your test results in time for your surgery.

Due to test results potentially not being available over weekends from non-Carle/Christie testing locations, patients who have a surgery scheduled on Monday will need to have the required COVID-19 test administered at a Carle testing site. This will ensure that we will not need to contact you on Sunday to cancel your surgery.


Will I need to wear a mask the day of surgery if I’m fully vaccinated?
Yes, for everyone’s safety, Carle will continue to require masks while on our campuses


I have anxiety, breathing problems, or another issue and I do not want to wear a mask; will I still be treated?

Special conditions will be evaluated on an individual basis to determine how best to care for these patients.


How do I access my Health Information records?

The Health Information Management main office at Carle at the Fields is currently closed to walk in patient access. Medical Information is available and can be distributed to patients via MyCarle portal, EPIC Care Everywhere, fax, secured email, mail or Fed Ex. Patients will be encouraged to use these methods to obtain medical information. Only in emergent situations will medical information and/or images on CD be delivered face to face. Patients must call (217) 902-6100 to arrange an appointment in this situation.

How can I make an advance directive and add it to my medical record?
Refer to the Advance Care Planning Guide and email ACP@carle.com or call you doctor’s office to schedule a phone visit with a social worker or advance care planning facilitator. Advance care planning assures your wishes are understood and communicated to healthcare professionals and your loved ones even when you aren't able to speak for yourself.

What is COVID-19?
It’s a respiratory virus – similar to SARS and MERS – that has sickened thousands in China and has spread to other countries including the U.S. As this is a newly identified strain, we don’t know as much about how easily it spreads or how many people will develop severe symptoms, but Carle is keeping a close eye on best practices and recommendations from health officials like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO).
 

How do you treat coronaviruses?
Supportive care is best to lessen symptoms. Most people will recover with rest and proper hydration within 7-10 days.
 

Is there a vaccine?
Several vaccines are in various stages of development, approval and distribution.

Please refer to our COVID-19 Vaccine Information.
 

Who is at risk?
Community transmission is occurring in multiple locations throughout the state. All of us should consider ourselves at risk for exposure to coronavirus. That means that everyone should stay home as much as possible and self-monitor for symptoms. Self-monitoring means checking yourself daily for fever, cough, shortness of breath or a sore throat. Health officials do not indicate testing for mildly ill or asymptomatic people.
 

What are the symptoms?
Since the symptoms are similar to other respiratory viral illnesses, people exposed to known cases are more at risk if they also have these symptoms: dry cough, difficulty breathing or two or more of the following symptoms: fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell.
 

How is it spread?
Much is unknown about how COVID-19, a new coronavirus, spreads. Current knowledge is largely based on what is known about similar coronaviruses. Most often, person-to-person spread happens among close contacts (about 6 feet). It can occur when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how flu and other respiratory illnesses spread. It’s currently unclear if a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching his or her own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is most likely the case.
 

How do I protect myself and my loved ones from COVID-19?
Everyday health practices are the most effective prevention:

  • Wash your hands
  • Cover your cough
  • Stay home if you’re sick
  • Don’t touch mouth, nose or eyes
  • Avoid close contact with sick people


Should I be wearing a mask in public?
The CDC recommends covering your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.

  • The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected even if you do not feel sick.
  • Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities.
  • Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  • Do NOT use a facemask meant for a healthcare worker.
  • Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.

CDC recommendations are changing frequently. Visit the CDC website for the latest guidance.