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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, TEAM MEMBERS 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?

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

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 a COVID-19 test.

Patients preparing for a procedure may be requested to complete a COVID-19 test.

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 been exposed to COVID-19, are experiencing symptoms or need a test for a pre-procedure contact the COVID hotline for available Carle testing locations.

In order to get patients their test results as quickly as possible, Carle will try to 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 tests positive for COVID-19, the appropriate public health department will contact the patient directly.

If you need to schedule a COVID-19 screening test to maintain compliance with state or federal requirements, you should schedule a test at a community, state, or commercial retail COVID-19 testing site. Click here for location information on the COVID-19 Community Testing Sites.

I’m having surgery at Carle, what do I need to know?

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

Following state guidelines, Carle is performing elective surgeries and procedures. Patients may be asked to complete a COVID-19 test prior to their procedure.

What steps is Carle taking to ensure patients are not exposed to COVID-19 when seeking elective procedure care?
  • Before a surgery or procedure, COVID-19 testing is required for all patients 72 hours prior to the planned procedure. A negative test is required for all non-emergent cases.
  • You must follow CDC guidance regarding wearing masks and maintaining social distancing once a 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 your 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-19 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

Who should receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that the following groups should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 Vaccine at least six (6) months after completing their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that the following groups should receive a booster shot with consultation by their provider.

  • People aged 18-64 year with underlying medical conditions
  • People aged 18-64 who are who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting
  • Patients who qualify for a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine third dose - specifically for those with underlying medical conditions - will be contacted to schedule an appointment to receive their third dose. If you have not been contacted, and believe that you qualify, please contact your provider's office or the COVID-19 hotline at 217-902-6100.

    What qualifies as fully vaccinated?

    According to the CDC, 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.
    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 as the organization resumes services, additional sanitizing and other precautions will be a strong focus area.

    All Carle Health team members are required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and are allowed to complete vaccination during a scheduled shift.

    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. Visiting policies vary by hospital and department, please see our full visiting policy here.

    Will insurance cover the cost of the COVID-19 test I need before my procedure?
    Will my pre-operative and post-operative visits be in-person or virtual? If they are virtual, are they covered by insurance?

    Carle Health has the ability to conduct virtual visits via EPIC MyChart Video Visits. When scheduling your follow-up care we encourage you to discuss the option of virtual visits with your provider. 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?
    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 regardless of vaccination status.

    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?

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes COVID-19 as a disease caused by a virus called SARS-CoV-2. Most people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms, but some people can become severely ill. Although most people with COVID-19 get better within weeks of illness, some people experience post-COVID conditions. Post-COVID conditions are a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems people can experience more than four weeks after first being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Older people and those who have certain underlying medical conditions are more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19. Vaccines against COVID-19 are safe and effective.

    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?

    The principal mode by which people are infected with COVID-19 is through exposure to respiratory fluids carrying the infectious virus.  Infectious exposures to respiratory fluids carrying COVID-19 occur in three principal ways (not mutually exclusive):

    1. Inhalation of air carrying very small fine droplets and aerosol particles that contain infectious virus. Risk of transmission is greatest within three to six feet of an infectious source where the concentration of these very fine droplets and particles is greatest.
    2. Deposition of virus carried in exhaled droplets and particles onto exposed mucous membranes (i.e., “splashes and sprays”, such as being coughed on). Risk of transmission is likewise greatest close to an infectious source where the concentration of these exhaled droplets and particles is greatest.
    3. Touching mucous membranes with hands soiled by exhaled respiratory fluids containing virus or from touching inanimate surfaces contaminated with virus.

    Visit the CDC website for the latest guidance.

     

    How do I protect myself and my loved ones from COVID-19?

    Everyone who qualifies should receive the COVID-19 vaccine. 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.

    What is Monoclonal Antibody Treatment?

    Monoclonal Antibody Treatment (MAB) can help your body fight off COVID-19 and reduce the risk of severe disease and hospitalization. Patients who meet any one of the criteria below may qualify for monoclonal antibody infusion. If you believe you may qualify, please contact your primary care provider for next steps.

    Monoclonal Antibody Infusion qualification criteria:

    • Age greater than 65
    • Weight BMI over 25
    • High Blood Pressure
    • Diabetes
    • COPD or moderate or severe asthma
    • Treatment for active cancer
    • Pregnancy
    • Chronic kidney disease
    • Immunosuppressive disease or immunosuppressive treatment
    • Speak with your provider about other qualifying criteria