Covid-19 Updates at Women’s Healthcare of Illinois

We appreciate your visit and we are working to ensure your safety during this pandemic by taking precautions and other safety measures at our clinic. Read current Coronavirus related information below. For more information, call us or simply schedule an appointment online. We serve patients from Evergreen Park IL, Mokena IL, Oak Lawn IL, Chicago Ridge IL, Hickory Hills IL, Bridgeview IL and Bedford Park IL.

Covid-19 Updates at Women's Healthcare of Illinois
Covid-19 Updates at Women's Healthcare of Illinois

The world is wrestling with how to best navigate the coronavirus situation, and those challenges are being felt right here at home.

As your trusted healthcare voice in the community, we are relentless in our efforts to deliver exceptional care and guidance, especially during times of confusion.

The health and well-being of you and your family are our responsibility. That will always be true.

Current coronavirus information

The latest updates will probably change by the time you’re done reading this, but as of this morning, Thursday, March 12, 2020:

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially declared coronavirus a pandemic (definition: an epidemic occurring worldwide, crossing international boundaries and affecting a large number of people).
  • The NBA has suspended its season.
  • Actor Tom Hanks and his wife, actor Rita Wilson, have tested positive for coronavirus.
  • The NCAA has decided that March Madness games will be played in arena’s without fans.
  • Italy is on a nationwide lockdown.
  • There are active cases of coronavirus in more than 100 countries and on all seven continents.
  • Travel between the U.S. and Europe has been suspended for 30 days.
  • Places without any known active cases of coronavirus include Greenland, Siberia, and Antarctica … for now.
  • This coronavirus is officially dubbed SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2), and it causes a disease called COVID-19.

And news out of China, where the virus originated:

  • Transmission rate is low (5%) among close contacts and mostly occurs with symptomatic patients (coughing, sneezing, and fever). This is good news. One of the big unknowns was whether lots of asymptomatic carriers were passing this along. This means the “stay home if you’re sick” is even more important.
  • No perinatal transmission in infected pregnant women.
  • Isolation works: Early in the outbreak, the transmission rate was 10%, but with quarantine and isolation, it dropped to 3%.

So, what does that mean for you?

As we’ve been telling you, don’t panic. Take this seriously, because it deserves your attention, but remain calm and do what you can to stop SARS-CoV-2 from spreading.

While it can be deadly, around 80% of cases are mild to moderate, and people typically recover in less than two weeks. The disease is a significant risk for people with immune system deficiencies, which means people 70 and older should be aware of the symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Mild respiratory symptoms, such as a dry cough
  • Coughing up phlegm
  • Shortness of breath
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Bad sore throat
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Nausea or vomiting

How does it spread?

SARS-CoV-2 spreads mainly in respiratory droplets launched from the mouth or nose when you breathe heavily, talk, cough, or sneeze. Once airborne, these droplets fall rapidly to the ground or nearest surface … they do not linger in the air.

If droplets containing SARS-CoV-2 land on a person nearby and gain access to the eyes, nose, or mouth – or are delivered there by a germy hand – that person can get infected.

When these droplets land on surfaces (railings, door knobs, an infected person’s hands, paper money, etc.), the disease can be picked up by others who touch these surfaces. The WHO says SARS-CoV-2 may survive on surfaces for as long as several days.

How can you protect yourself and those around you?

We all have a social responsibility to help keep people safe.

  • Practice good, basic hygiene. 
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly … soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds (hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice).
  • Make sure you wash your hands before and after eating, whenever you sneeze, cough, or blow your nose.
  • If you can’t get to a sink, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your face, particularly your eyes, nose, and mouth … and yes, we know that when you read that sentence, it only makes you want to touch your face right now!
  • When you cough or sneeze, cover your face with a tissue or the inner arm (across from your elbow). Then go wash your hands.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • If you are sick, stay home and away from other people … and if you’re one of the few remaining people who don’t have Netflix, get it.
  • Regularly disinfect common surface areas in your home and car.

Should you go to the doctor if you’re feeling sick?

Call first Our team of experts will help you take the next steps.

Do not make an unannounced visit. If we determine that you’re potentially infected with the coronavirus, we will work with you to get you in to our offices so you can be tested, monitored, and treated.

Again, call first.

What if you have a regular scheduled appointment?

Your health and wellness are our top priority, and that’s true even during a pandemic. If you follow the precautions listed above, we encourage you to come in for your appointment.

However, if you’re more comfortable staying home, there are appointment options available during situations like this, namely …

What is a virtual visit?

It’s actually quite simple and convenient.

You will be scheduled for a virtual visit appointment with your doctor, nurse practitioner, midwife, or someone from our trusted team. When it is time for your visit, we will send you a secure link (via text or email) that will allow you access to the virtual exam room to start your face-to-face video chat, rather than coming in to one of our offices.

In most cases, a virtual visit is virtually the same as an in-person visit, allowing you and your provider to ask questions, get answers, and stay connected. 

Here’s what you need:

  • A smartphone (preferred) or computer with a webcam and audio (speakers or headphones).
  • Internet or Wi-Fi access.

Note: Not all appointments can be conducted through virtual visit, but we will do our best to accommodate as many patients as possible.

What’s next?

“We here at Women’s Healthcare of Illinois and Family First Medical Group are constantly monitoring the latest news on this illness,” said Kathleen Slugocki, a doctor of obstetrics and our in-house guru on infectious diseases. “We recommend that our patients, no matter their age or condition, stay in contact with us and make every effort to attend your appointments.”

That sentiment was echoed by Dr. David Beckmann, founder of Family First Medical Group, who added the necessity for diligence and awareness.

“Young people need to understand that simply because they’re considered low-risk doesn’t mean they should go about their lives like nothing is wrong,” he said. “If we do that, many of our elderly will die, and it will be because of our carelessness.”

Dr. Beckmann also mentioned the fact that immune system deficiency is not limited to the elderly.

“Age is something we can see,” he said, “but it’s impossible to look at someone and know if he or she is immunocompromised. So we need to care and be aware.”

As more information becomes available, we will keep you updated.