Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs

General Information

The spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation and we will continue to provide updated information as it becomes available.

For the most up to date information, visit the CDC website.

What is coronavirus (COVID-19)?

The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), started in Wuhan, China, and was spread from animals.

What are symptoms of COVID-19?

Current symptoms reported for patients with COVID-19 have included mild to severe respiratory illness. Symptoms include cough, fever, shortness of breath, body aches/fatigue, loss of smell or taste, headache and runny nose. The virus can cause pneumonia.

How does the virus spread?

According to the World Health Organization, the disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales, this includes talking, shouting, singing, etc. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets.

Who is at risk?

According to the CDC, based on current available information, those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 include: 

  • People aged 65 years and older
  • People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
  • People with high-risk conditions, such as:
    • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
    • People who have serious heart conditions
    • People who are immunocompromised including cancer treatment
    • People of any age with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] >40) or certain underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, such as those with diabetes, renal failure, or liver disease might also be at risk
  • People who are pregnant should be monitored since they are known to be at risk with severe viral illness, however, to date data on COVID-19 has not shown increased risk
How can you protect yourself and help prevent the spread of the disease?

It is important to remember that COVID-19 typically causes mild symptoms, and the vast majority of people will recover fully from it. Adults who are 70 years of age or older and people with serious illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, hypertension and cancer are more vulnerable to COVID-19. You can best protect yourself in simple ways by practicing the following:

  • Get vaccinated. COVID-19 vaccines help protect you and others around you from spreading the disease. To learn more about COVID-19 vaccines, click here.
  • Wash your hands. Washing your hands with soap and water, or using hand sanitizer when soap is not available, is a great way to prevent the spread of any disease.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or face when hands are unwashed.
  • Stay home when you are sick. The best way to stop the spread of this disease or any illness is to stay away from heavily populated areas like work or school when ill.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect household surfaces frequently.
  • Wear a mask. Wearing a mask when in public is the best way to protect those around you from COVID-19. Learn more about why masking is important to stop the spread on the CDC website.
  • Practice social distancing. An effective way to stop the spread of COVID-19 is to practice social distancing guidelines. This includes not gathering in large groups of 10 or more and staying home whenever possible.
Now that the COVID-19 public health emergency is over, do I still need to wear a mask?

Masking is no longer required at RUSH, except in specific areas and for specific types of patient interactions. However, we encourage masking as a preventive measure and have hospital-grade masks available for use. Members of your care team at RUSH will put on masks at your request.

How is RUSH protecting staff and non-COVID patients from infection?

We have dedicated RUSH staff handling coronavirus cases who have been rigorously trained and are protected with special masks, eye-shields and other protective gear. Other patients in the hospital are completely separate from the isolation rooms in our hospital dedicated to treating coronavirus patients.

Does RUSH have patients with COVID-19 currently?

Patient privacy laws prohibit us from sharing any details about patients at RUSH. What I can tell you is that any patient with coronavirus screened or treated at our hospital is immediately moved to isolated patient rooms with dedicated infectious control staff taking rigorous precautions.

Is it safe to come to RUSH?

Absolutely. Your safety and that of our staff is our highest priority. Our medical center was built for this – including inpatient treatment rooms completely isolated from the rest of the hospital. We are one of only 35 medicalcenters in the nation designated by the CDC as having the highest standards in infection control. Learn more about why it's safe to see a health care provider.

Are there any new visitor restrictions at RUSH related to COVID-19?

Your health and well-being while visiting RUSH is our top priority. In an effort to protect patients and the community, we have updated our visitor policy.

For the full details on these restrictions, including the exceptions, please click here.

Can I get tested for COVID-19 at RUSH?

If you do not have symptoms of COVID-19 — including fever, cough and difficulty breathing — you should not come in to be tested. The rules around testing for COVID-19 are very strict, and we do not conduct routine testing for people who do not have any symptoms. Please practice social distancing, wash your hands regularly and reduce unnecessary activities outside your home. If you develop symptoms or have another reason for wanting to take a test, please start an on-demand video visit for a provider consultation, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m, seven days a week. Select “concern for novel coronavirus” as the reason for visit.

If you do have symptoms, you can schedule an appointment online or start a video visit with a RUSH provider who will assess your risk and determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19. If you need to be tested for COVID-19, your provider will give you instructions for coming to RUSH to be tested.

If you have symptoms but are unable to call ahead or conduct a video visit and come to the emergency department or your primary care provider, we will screen you for symptoms to determine if you need a COVID-19 test — and we will test those who need it.

If you are having trouble breathing and need emergent care, please call 911 or visit your nearest emergency department to get immediate care.

Where can I find information about the COVID-19 vaccines?

Our COVID-19 Vaccines web page includes the latest information and resources about the COVID-19 vaccines.

How can I help?

You can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by washing your hands frequently and practicing social distancing. Learn more about good social distancing habits.

Help combat COVID-19 in the Chicago area by making a monetary gift to the RUSH system.

To learn about other forms of donation, such as personal protective equipment, please view our COVID-19 donations webpage.