CGH Medical Center Announces COVID-19 Testing Procedures


STERLING - Got a cough or fever? Wondering if it may be the new coronavirus? If you think you might have COVID-19, here are the steps you can take to contact your healthcare provider, work with them to determine your risk, avoid spreading germs and get care if you need it.

Stay calm. - The possibility of having a contagious illness is scary, but we are closely monitoring and learning more about COVID-19 every day. We are working with the Whiteside County Health Department (WCHD), the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide care to patients while avoiding spread of the illness in the community.

Stay home and call your healthcare provider. *Do NOT go to your doctor’s office.* – Unless it is an emergency, to reduce your risk of catching or spreading illness, stay home if you feel sick, even if your symptoms are mild. Do not go to work, school or public places, and avoid public transportation. If your symptoms are severe or you feel like you need medical care, call before you go to your healthcare provider’s office or CGH Ready Care. Describe your symptoms over the phone. If you have a medical emergency, call 911 and tell the dispatcher about your symptoms and recent travel history. For general questions about COVID-19 and symptoms, call the IDPH hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email

Answer questions to determine your risk. – When you call your healthcare provider, you will be asked about your risks for COVID-19. Risk factors include recent travel to certain countries or areas of the U.S., or exposure to an infected person. For instance,

Have you traveled in the last 14 days?

Have you traveled to China, any other country, or a community in the United States where the coronavirus is spreading?

Have you had close contact with anyone diagnosed with known coronavirus (COVID-19) infection or that is under evaluation for possible exposure? (Close contact means having been within 6 feet of that person for an extended time or being exposed to their cough or sneeze.)

Do you have any of the following symptoms: fever, a cough (or other cold or flu-like symptoms), difficulty breathing or shortness of breath?

These questions are subject to change.

THIS IS CGH MEDICAL CENTER’S CURRENT PROCESS FOR TESTING and is subject to change based on IDPH and CDC recommendations:

Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions - Based on your answers to the screening questions, and on your risk for COVID-19, you will receive instructions over the phone. You will be told if you need to be evaluated, and if so, what to do next. Your health care provider may recommend that you:

Continue to monitor your health and call back if you develop a fever or respiratory symptoms.

Stay home and await further instructions.

You may be asked to go to the emergency department if you have more severe symptoms, such as higher fever and severe shortness of breath.

ONLY if directed to do so by your healthcare provider following your pre-screening, report to CGH Ready Care, located in the lower level of 15 W. 3rd Street, Sterling, for testing. If possible, it is best to go alone to your appointment. Unless you need assistance, do not bring children or other family members. Once at Ready Care, drive up to the west entrance near the blue awning. Stay in your car. You will be tested for influenza. These test results will take approximately 20 minutes. If these results are negative, CGH Medical Center is required to contact the WCHD and IDPH to receive authorization to administer a COVID-19 test. Results from this test can take up to 72 hours.

Finally, continue to practice hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette. - Wash your hands thoroughly (for at least 20 seconds) after sneezing, blowing your nose, coughing or using the bathroom, and before preparing or eating food. If you cough or sneeze, do so into the bend of your elbow, not your hand. Or use a tissue, and then throw it away immediately afterward. At home, clean often-touched surfaces such as doors and doorknobs, cabinet handles, bathroom hardware, tabletops, phones, tablets and keyboards regularly with disinfectant.