Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Ford County's current COVID-19 Cases     

What is COVID-19?

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus meaning this is a new strain that has been identified in humans. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals. The virus was first identified during an investigation in an outbreak in Wuhan, China back in December 2019.

How does the virus spread?

COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly through close contact from person to person, including between people who are physically near each other (within about 6 feet). People who are infected but do not show symptoms can also spread the virus to others. We are still learning about how the virus spreads and the severity of illness it causes. How easily a virus spreads from person to person can vary. The virus that causes COVID-19 appears to spread more efficiently than influenza but not as efficiently as measles, which is among the most contagious viruses known to affect people.

  • COVID-19 most commonly spreads during close contact - People who are physically near (within 6 feet) a person with COVID-19 or have direct contact with that person are at greatest risk of infection.
  • COVID-19 can sometimes be spread by airborne transmission - Some infections can be spread by exposure to virus in small droplets and particles that can linger in the air for minutes to hours. These viruses may be able to infect people who are further than 6 feet away from the person who is infected or after that person has left the space. There is evidence that under certain conditions, people with COVID-19 seem to have infected others who were more than 6 feet away. These transmissions occurred within enclosed spaces that had inadequate ventilation. Sometimes the infected person was breathing heavily, for example while singing or exercising.

For more information on how COVID-19 spreads, please visit: CDC's How Coronavirus Spreads


People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C)

Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. We do not yet know what causes MIS-C. However, we know that many children with MIS-C had the virus that causes COVID-19, or had been around someone with COVID-19. MIS-C can be serious, even deadly, but most children who were diagnosed with this condition have gotten better with medical care.

Contact your child’s doctor, nurse, or clinic right away if your child is showing symptoms of MIS-C:

  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Neck pain
  • Rash
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Feeling extra tired

Be aware that not all children will have all the same symptoms. Seek emergency care right away if your child is showing any of these emergency warning signs of MIS-C or other concerning signs:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Pain or pressure in the chest that does not go away
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Severe abdominal pain

People who need to take extra precautions.

Everyone is at risk for getting COVID-19 if they are exposed to the virus. Some people are more likely than others to become severely ill, which means that they may require hospitalization, intensive care, or a ventilator to help them breathe, or they may even die. We learn more about COVID-19 every day, and as more information becomes available, CDC will continue to update and share information about risk for severe illness.

This includes:

  • Vulnerable populations such as older people and people of all ages with severe underlying health conditions — like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes.
  • Travelers returning from affected locations where community spread is occurring.
  • Healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19.
  • Close contacts of persons with COVID-19.
  • People in places where ongoing community spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 has been reported.

For more information about people at increased risk and should take extra precautions, visit:

How is COVID-19 diagnosed?

Diagnosis occurs through laboratory testing of respiratory specimens and serum (blood). Physicians, not FCPHD, will collect samples for testing. Contact your healthcare provider should you suspect you have been exposed to COVID-19.

How can people reduce the risk of getting sick and prevent the spread of COVID-19?

Individuals and communities should familiarize themselves with recommendations to protect themselves and their communities from getting and spreading respiratory illnesses like COVID-19. The best way for all Ford County residents to reduce their risk of getting sick, as with seasonal colds or the flu, still applies to prevent COVID-19:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home if you are sick, unless seeking medical care.
  • Wear a cloth face covering in public settings.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Try alternatives to shaking hands, like an elbow bump or wave.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as doorknobs, countertops and phones.
  • If you have recently returned from a country, state or region with ongoing spread of COVID-19, monitor your health and follow the instructions of public health officials

FCPHD travel recommendations

Currently, FCPHD recommends avoiding unnecessary travel.  Depending on your travel history, you may be asked to stay home for 14 days from the time you left an area with widespread or ongoing community spread. CDC and FCPHD recommend all persons postpone any travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide. Visit the CDC website for more information on current travel recommendations.

Should you wear a mask?

According to CDC, "We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.  This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.  In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission."

It is critical to emphasize that maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus.  CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.  Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure. Click the links below for more information.

How do I make my own mask?

COVID-19 Testing

There are dozens of sites across the state that provide COVID-19 testing. The State of Illinois oversees 11 community-based testing sites. Other public and private sites are not run by the State of Illinois and may have differing testing requirements.

A list of testing sites can be found online at or

You may also visit the CDC's Coronavirus Self-Checker at

What to do if you suspect you have COVID-19

COVID-19 symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop symptoms, follow the CDC’s steps below to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community.

  • Stay home except to get medical care. People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness. You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care.
  • Call ahead before visiting your doctor and tell them that you may have COVID-19. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.
  • As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people and pets/animals in your home. Use a separate bathroom, if available.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces in your home everyday.
  • You should wear a cloth face covering, over your nose and mouth if you must be around other people even at home).
  • Visit CDC's What to do if you are sick for more information

Is there treatment for COVID-19?

There is no treatment or cure for COVID-19. For most people, the illness is generally mild and can be safely managed at home. Speak with your doctor about ways you can manage COVID-19 symptoms.

What to do if you own pets

CDC is aware of a small number of pets, including dogs and cats, reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after close contact with people with COVID-19. Only a few of the animals reported to be positive showed signs of illness.

The first case of an animal testing positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 in the United States was a tiger with a respiratory illness at a zoo in New York City. Samples from this tiger were taken and tested after several lions and tigers at the zoo showed signs of respiratory illness. Public health officials believe these large cats became sick after being exposed to a zoo employee who was actively shedding virus. This investigation is ongoing. On April 22, the CDC and the USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratories announced the first confirmed cases of COVID-19 in two pet cats. These are the first pets in the United States to test positive for COVID-19.

Until we learn more about how this virus affects animals, treat pets as you would other human family members to protect them from a potential infection.

  • Do not let pets interact with people or other animals outside the household.
  • Keep cats indoors when possible to prevent them from interacting with other animals or people.
  • Walk dogs on a leash, maintaining at least 6 feet (2 meters) from other people and animals.
  • Avoid dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather.

There is a very small number of animals around the world reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 after having contact with a person with COVID-19. Talk to your veterinarian if your pet gets sick or if you have any concerns about your pet’s health.

Visit CDC's If You Have Animals webpage for more information.


For more information on COVID-19 and what you can do to protect yourself and your family, please visit:

COVID-19 Resources page

COVID-19 Press Releases

Ford County COVID-19 Cases

CDC's Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19

  • Agency on Aging
  • Community Care Coordination
  • DHS
  • CDC
  • Gibson Area Hospital & Health Services
  • Benefit Access Program