Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Ford County

Positive (confirmed)



COVID-19 Tests* 0 3 4

*Pending tests may not reflect actual numbers due to reporting practices of private laboratories. 

A statewide order has been issued for Illinois residents to stay at home or in their place of residence. The order requires all residents to stay home, unless traveling for essential needs or business, and requires businesses not engaged in essential activities to cease all activities except for minimum basic operations. The order will take effect on Saturday, March 21 at 5 p.m., across the State of Illinois and will remain in place until the Governor’s Disaster Proclamation expires on April 7.


Ford County Public Health Department (FCPHD) continues to work with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to monitor potential outbreaks, provide frequent updates of emerging information, and share where residents can obtain resources and tools to prepare their household and prevent possible spread of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

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?

The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).

What is the current risk assessment?

For the majority of people, the immediate risk of being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be low. There is not widespread circulation in most communities in the United States and there are no known cases in Ford County. While the risk of exposure to Ford County residents continues to remain low, there are certain individuals and populations who are more at risk getting COVID-19.

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 international 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.

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.
  • 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?

    CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. You should only wear a mask if a healthcare professional recommends it. A facemask should be used by people who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms. This is to protect others from the risk of getting infected. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and other people who are taking care of someone infected with COVID-19 in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).

    What to do if you suspect you have COVID-19

    COVID-19 symptoms are similar to those of influenza (the flu), and the flu and other viruses are still highly prevalent. 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.

    Do you need to be tested for COVID-19?

    Question 1: Are you having symptoms like fever, cough, or difficulty breathing?

    • If YES: Please answer Question #2.
    • If NO: Testing is not needed. If you have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, stay home and monitor symptoms for 14 days.

    Question 2: Are your symptoms severe?

    • If YES: Call your doctor or 911.
    • If NO: Please answer Question #3.

    Question 3: Are you over 60? And/or do you have an underlying medical condition like diabetes, cancer or heart disease?

    • If YES: Contact your doctor to determine if testing is needed.
    • IF NO: Testing is not needed. Stay home for 7 days from symptom onset and 72 hours after fever is gone and symptoms improve (whichever is longer) to avoid getting anyone else sick.

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

    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.


    For more information on COVID-19 and what you can do to protect yourself and your family, visit the links below. You can also visit our COVID-19 Guidance, Flyers, and Other Resources page for additional information.

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