Dear NNH community,

We understand many of you are anxious. We are all living through interesting and sometimes frightening times. This communication has been prepared based on guidelines and information from the CDC and IDPH. We are here for you, and will work with you during this difficult time. We are happy to work with, and for our communities. Some of our operations may have changed temporarily in order to provide the best, and safest care. Please know that with every decision we make, we are trying to ensure the health of all of our patients, staff and community. 

For more information on our response to COVID-19, please see additional information and resources provided below.

COVID-19 Vaccination & Testing Events:

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COVDI-19 Special Edition Happenings Newsletter

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ


Where does Near North get its information?  We are checking with the CDC (Center for Disease Control), IDPH (Illinois Public Health Department) and CDPH (Cook County Department of Public Health) many times a day. We encourage EVERYONE to only use reliable sources such as these for information.  Do NOT rely on YouTube, blogs, friends or other forms of social media.

Is Near North open?  Yes. We are open, but on the recommendation of the CDC are limiting the number of visitors to the health center. Please call us before you come. We are trying to reach all of our scheduled patients in advance of their appointment to see if we can address their health issues without having them come into the center. Many issues and medical problems can be addressed over the phone or by a video call.

What is Coronavirus? Coronavirus (COVID-19) is similar to the flu, but it is NOT the flu. This strain of Coronavirus started in China in late December 2019, most likely from a bat. It passed to humans in an open air market in China. The virus quickly started to spread from human to human, and then spread from China to other parts of the world. Now the virus is primarily spread from person-to person.

What is the difference between Coronavirus and COVID-19? The virus is officially called Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2.)  The name of the disease it causes is COVID-19. The name was chosen by the World Health Organization.

Why does it seem so dangerous? Compared to other viruses SARS-CoV (2003) and MERS (2012), this coronavirus does not seem to be as deadly. However, it is VERY contagious. Certain groups are at very high risk for complications and even death.

Who is at risk?  While EVERYONE is at risk, the people most likely to have serious complications are older poeple (people over 65) and people with other illnesses, especially respiratory illnesses.  Children and young people do much better. The problem is, the younger people may give it to older people accidentally (like their parents or grandparent) and this can be very dangerous for the older people.

Is it true young people don’t get the virus? This is not true. Young people DO get the virus. Many young people do fairly well with the virus, but many others are hospitalized.

How is it spread? This is a respiratory infection, spread by droplets (coughing, sneezing, oral secretions, mucous). Person to person spread is occurring because of poor hygiene and the social nature of humans. The virus spreads because if someone with coronavirus sneezes into their hand and then grabs a doorknob, and then a healthy person grabs the doorknob and scratches their nose or rubs their eyes, this could transmit the virus. That is why it is important to wash your hands often and avoid touching your face.

What can I do to stay healthy?  As always practice good hygiene. This is a respiratory infection that is spread by droplets floating in the air. We do know the virus can live on surfaces. The virus is known to be active in stool and urine for 1-4 days.

  • Wash your hands often. Soap and water is just as good (or better) than hand sanitizer, but you must wash with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds

  • Limit close contacts. We believe a safe distance is 6 feet from infected individuals

  • Avoid touching your face

  • Stay at home and avoid social places

  • Even if you feel a little sick avoid others until you feel better for 3 days

  • If you do not NEED to go out into the public (bank, grocery, dry-cleaners), don’t

How do I know if I have Coronavirus/COVID-19? The symptoms of Coronavirus are much like those of the flu or a bad cold. Fever and respiratory problems, or fever and cough. Some people get sore throats and headaches. Rarely people only have a cough or shortness of breath. If you are having severe respiratory symptoms with or without fever, you should be seen immediately by a health professional. Do not go to the doctor just because you have a cough or are sneezing UNLESS

  • You have been out of the country

  • You have been exposed to someone that tested positive for Coronavirus

  • You are high a risk person (older age, other medical issues including pregnancy)

  • You are caring for someone quarantined or live with someone quarantined

What should I do if I think I have COVID-19?  If you are very ill or are having any trouble breathing, cover your mouth and nose with a mask or scarf and go to the emergency room. Tell them immediately you might have COVID-19. If you simply are concerned, or have only mild symptoms, do NOT go to the emergency room. Call us and one of our health professionals will speak to you.

Can I get tested or COVID-19 at NNHSC?  NNHSC DOES have the capability to test people. It takes 2-5 days for results to return. You will be quarantined while we await the results. We will NOT test people without symptoms and/or risk factors.  This would overwhelm the system and we would not be able to care for people at highest risk. CALL BEFORE YOU COME IN. We want to be prepared for your visit and not everyone needs to come in to be helped.

I heard about a cure/treatment.  There is no known cure or treatment at this time. Many people get better with usual care (rest, Tylenol, hydration). Some people however get very sick and must be hospitalized.

Why can’t they cure this?  COVID-19/Coronavirus is a virus. We cannot cure viruses. Viruses are interesting in that they incorporate into your cell’s DNA and that makes them very hard to treat.  HIV, Herpes, and the flu are other viruses. We cannot cure them either. Scientists are working to create a vaccine for COVID-19 (like the Flu vaccine).

For more information on what to do if you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19, please see the guidelines provided by the Chicago Department of Public Health below.