Dear Patients & Community Members:

We wanted to take a moment to address our patients and community regarding the recent outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19.

While the media has been quick to provide real-time updates regarding the spread of the virus, we highly recommend you rely on trusted and respected health services when looking for information about the novel coronavirus. These include The Loretto Hospital, along with other community healthcare centers, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at and the World Health Organization (WHO).

What is The Loretto Hospital doing to prepare for the virus?

We have a rigorous screening process in place and are immediately isolating anyone presenting with possible coronavirus symptoms. Our specialists are well-trained in infection control processes and protocols, and we continue to ensure all areas of our facilities are fully sanitized for your protection. If you are not feeling well, we recommend contacting your doctor before your appointment or procedure.

The Infectious Control and Emergency Preparedness team began training for all of our staff members this past week. Training is focused on CDC’s infection control guidelines to protect our patients and employees. Additional things we are doing include:

  • Posting signs for visitors and employees
  • We will have visitor restrictions
  • As a preventative measure, the hospital has cancelled all community-related and external events with 25 people or more
  • We are part of Chicago’s Healthcare Coalition and attend weekly calls about updates from CDC

UPDATED VISITOR POLICY:

Effective March 16, 2020 The Loretto Hospital has implemented a strict NO VISITOR policy in any of our inpatient or outpatient areas across the hospital. Exceptions will be made for minor children receiving care in the emergency department.

We understand that this change will represent a significant hardship for both patients and families. This was a difficult decision, but one that we feel is critically important to protect the patients, their families, our staff and the community we serve.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUSTIONS REGARDING THE CORONAVIRUS:

What is the Novel Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses, some that cause illness in people and others that cause illness in animals. Coronaviruses include the seasonal flu and common cold. Novel (new) coronaviruses are new strains of the virus that have not been previously identified in humans.

Symptoms

Reported symptoms can include a fever, cough, or shortness of breath and may appear in as few as two to fourteen days following exposure. If you develop a cold or flu-like symptoms, especially after travelling, it is recommended to call your local healthcare provider for personalized expert advice.

How It Spreads

According to the CDC, transmission of the virus is primarily spread between people who are in close contact with one another. It is also believed that a person can be exposed to the new coronavirus by touching a compromised surface or object. However, due to the delicate nature of the virus, the CDC has stated that exposure from products or packaging that are shipped or mailed over a period of days or weeks as “very low risk.”

Prevention & Treatment

The PHAC, WHO and the CDC have recommended the following steps to help reduce the risk of exposure and to help prevent spreading the virus:

At the moment, there is no vaccine for 2019 Novel Coronavirus. You can protect yourself from this disease the same way you protect yourself and others from the flu and various respiratory illnesses.

  • Wash your hands. Washing your hands with soap and water, or using hand sanitizer when soap is not available, is a great way to prevent the spread of any disease.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or face when hands are unwashed
  • Stay home when you are sick. If you aren’t feeling well, the best way to stop the spread of disease is to stay away from heavily populated areas like work or school.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing
  • Clean and disinfect household surfaces frequently
  • Avoid crowded areas


CDC recommends to avoid traveling to countries that have a Level 2 or 3 Travel Health Notice. These include:

  • China
  • Italy
  • South Korea
  • Iran
  • Japan.


These countries are high risk and transmission is widespread and ongoing. If you have traveled to these areas or have been in close contact with someone who was tested positive for 2019 novel coronavirus, please stay home to avoid spreading illness to others unless you need emergency care.

If you see a physician at Loretto Hospital, and would like to speak to them, please call: 833-TLH-HEAL (773-854-5475).

For more information, the Cook County Department of Emergency Management and Regional Security and the local health departments have set up information sites and phone lines for the general public, as noted below:

Illinois Department of Public Health HOTLINE: 217-782-2016 or after business hours and weekends at 217-782-7860.

Department of Emergency Management and Regional Security: Click Here

Chicago Department of Public Health HOTLINE: 312-746-SICK (312-746-7425) or after business hours and weeks, dial 311.

This is a time for concern, but not a time for panic. Thank you for entrusting The Loretto Hospital with your care. We are proud to serve you, and look forward to continuing to do so.

Be Well,

The Loretto Hospital