English
Contact Us
Select Page

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about COVID-19, the vaccines, and guidance.
If you don't see an answer to your question in the FAQs, please ask us. We are here to help.

01. COVID-19 (3)

COVID-19 can spread easily between people when they are close together through doplets in the air from coughing, sneezing, talking or singing. Most of these droplets cannot be seen withe naked eye.

Category: 01. COVID-19

Many people with COVID-19 don’t have any symptoms. Some people have symptoms similar to a cold or flu. Some people get very sick and need to be taken care of in the hospital. The most common symptoms include: fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.

Tag: Symptoms
Category: 01. COVID-19

Anyone can get sick with COVID-19. Older adults, people who have heart, lung, kidney or liver disease, people with diabetes, and people who are overweight or obese, seem to be at higher risk for getting seriously ill if they get COVID-19. Some people get seriously ill from COVID-19 even without any of these conditions.

Tag: At-Risk
Category: 01. COVID-19

02. Vaccines (37)

Yes. All of the COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States are effective at reducing your chances of getting COVID-19, getting very sick, and dying from COVID-19. To maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, you should continue to wear a mask indoors when in public, even if you are fully vaccinated.

Category: 02. Vaccines

All of the COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States are safe. Millions of people in the United States have received these vaccines under the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history. We recommend that you get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.

Category: 02. Vaccines

Yes, effective July 1, 2021, the COVID-19 Vaccination Rights for Employees and Employer Obligations Ordinance went into effect. In Cook County, employers cannot require workers to get vaccinated outside of work hours. If your employer requires you to be vaccinated and your appointment is during your shift, you are to be compensated up to four hours per dose. If your employer does not require you to be vaccinated, you can use paid sick leave or paid time off to get vaccinated, but your employer cannot require you to find coverage for your shift during that time. Learn more or file a complaint with Cook County’s Commission on Human Rights: https://bit.ly/VaxRights

Category: 02. Vaccines

Yes. Businesses with health care, school or higher education employees or students are allowed to require proof of vaccination status for anyone, including visitors.

Category: 02. Vaccines

If you work in healthcare, at a school, college, university, state-owned or operated church or place of worship, and you are not fully vaccinated, you are required to get tested weekly. Employees who are exempt from the vaccine requirement due to a medical or religious reason must get tested weekly.

Category: 02. Vaccines

Many people have no side effects from the COVID-19 vaccination. Some people experience soreness where they received the vaccine, a headache or other side effects that make them feel under the weather for one or two days. These side effects are normal signs that your body is building protection against the virus.

Category: 02. Vaccines

Yes. If you are required to get vaccinated (because you work in healthcare, at a school, college/university or state-owned or operated church or place of worship), you do have the option to be tested weekly instead. However, your employer may have stricter requirements.

Category: 02. Vaccines

Yes, you can get COVID-19 even if you already had it. Getting the vaccine will give you a strong boost in long-term protection against severe illness, hospitalization or death.

Tags: Guidance, Vaccine
Category: 02. Vaccines

No. The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain any parts of the virus, so they can’t give your child COVID-19.

Category: 02. Vaccines

No. The company’s research suggests that a 2nd dose of the J&J vaccine, more than six months after your original dose, may increase the effectiveness of the vaccine against COVID. However, the FDA and CDC are reviewing data to see if a booster will be recommended. At this time we do not recommend mixing vaccine types.

Category: 02. Vaccines

Yes. Private workplaces can require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Category: 02. Vaccines

Yes, unless they undergo weekly testing and can provide confirmation of a negative test result on a weekly basis.

Category: 02. Vaccines

There is no federal or state mandate to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC recommends the vaccine to all Americans 12 and over.

Category: 02. Vaccines

Yes. In Illinois, as long as you can medically tolerate it, everyone 2 years and older should wear a mask over their nose and mouth in indoor public places. Masking is also recommended for crowded outdoor settings and activities that involve close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.

You can remove your face covering while actively eating or drinking (including in bars or restaurants). While working, workers can remove their masks as long as they consistently maintain six feet of distance. An example of this would be if you’re working in your own office room or cubicle.

Everyone is required to wear a face covering on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation; in transportation hubs such as airports, train and bus stations; in congregate facilities such as correctional facilities and homeless shelters; and in healthcare settings.

Category: 02. Vaccines

If you need a new card, ask your physician to look in I-CARE and give you a new one. If you lost or misplaced your vaccination card, visit IDPH Vax Verify website and print verification.

Category: 02. Vaccines

If you lost or misplaced your vaccination card, visit IDPH Vax Verify website and print verification. If you need a new card, ask your physician to look in I-CARE and give you a new one.

Tag: ID
Category: 02. Vaccines

You can access your immunization records by visiting the Vax Verify portal.
http://www.dph.illinois.gov/immunizationsupport

Category: 02. Vaccines

All steps have been taken to ensure the vaccines are safe and effective.
Millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines under the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history.
The CDC recommends you get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you can.
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety/safety-of-vaccines.html

Category: 02. Vaccines

It usually takes about two weeks after vaccination for your body to build protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. If you get a two-dose vaccine, you are not fully vaccinated until 2 weeks after your 2nd dose.

Category: 02. Vaccines

The company’s research suggests that a 2nd dose, more than six months after your original dose, may increase the effectiveness of the vaccine against COVID. But the FDA has not approved or recommended a booster yet for the J&J vaccine.

Category: 02. Vaccines

It is true that children are less likely to have symptoms. If children have symptoms they are usually mild. Children do get infected with COVID-19 and can spread it to others. We do not know what impact COVID-19 infection might have on a child’s future health so it is important to do everything we can to protect them.

Tags: Kids, Symptoms
Category: 02. Vaccines

Yes. Having COVID-19 in the past does not give you lasting immunity. The COVID-19 vaccines can give you long-lasting immunity and also protect you against other COVID-19 variants.

Category: 02. Vaccines

The vaccines are working very well to prevent the worst cases of COVID-19 that lead to hospitalization or death, even against the highly contagious Delta variant. The virus is constantly changing and scientists are seeing reduced protection against mild and moderate disease. Booster shots are recommended for some people to ensure the best protection.

Category: 02. Vaccines

Children and adolescents (ages 12-18 years) receive the same dosage of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine as adults. There are no weight requirements for vaccination and the dose is the same no matter what you weigh.

Category: 02. Vaccines

Yes. The 2-part Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is safe and effective for children aged 12-17 years old. The FDA examines the data on testing, safety, and effectiveness before allowing emergency use authorization.

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective for children 12 and older. They have been approved by the FDA under the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history.

Category: 02. Vaccines

Yes. COVID-19 vaccines are safe and recommended for most people with any medical conditions. Vaccination helps to prevent severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. If you have a medical condition, speak with your healthcare provider about steps you can take to manage your health and risks. Getting vaccinated, wearing a mask, washing your hands, and keeping your distance from others are all very important to keep you safe from COVID-19.

People with moderately to severely compromised immune systems should receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine after the initial 2 doses. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines.html

Category: 02. Vaccines

Many people do not have any side effects after getting the vaccine.
Some common side effects include:
• pain, redness and swelling on the arm where you got the shot
• tiredness
• headache
• muscle pain
• chills
• fever
• nausea

Category: 02. Vaccines

The active ingredient in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines is Messenger RNA (or mRNA). Messenger RNA is a protein that helps the body make antibodies to the COVID-19 virus. Antibodies are like soldiers that fight the virus. The vaccine gets your body ready to fight for when it recognizes the real virus.

Category: 02. Vaccines

Most side effects will go away on their own.
If you gave pain, redness or swelling on the arm where you got the shot, you can put a clean, cool, wet washcloth over the area. Keep using your arm as you usually do.
If you are feeling feverish, drink plenty of fluids and dress lightly. Talk to your doctor about taking an over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
If your side effects don’t go away within 3-4 days, talk to your doctor.

Category: 02. Vaccines

A booster shot is recommended due to concern that the effectiveness of the vaccine decreases over time and may not protect against a new strain, such as delta. Doctors use the term third dose when referring to people with compromised immune systems who may not have gotten the level of protection they need from the first two doses. The third dose provides that level of immunity.

Tags: Boosters, Vaccine
Category: 02. Vaccines

As long as you are no longer in isolation or infectious, it is safe to get the vaccine. If you had symptoms of COVID-19, you are no longer infectious 10 days after your symptoms started. If you never had any symptoms of COVID-19, you are no longer infectious 10 days after the day you tested positive.

Category: 02. Vaccines

COVID-19 vaccines are expected to be approved for use in children ages 5-11 years old in late October.

Category: 02. Vaccines

If you work in healthcare, at a school, college, university, state-owned or operated church or place of worship, you are required to be fully vaccinated.

Category: 02. Vaccines

Data shows the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination for all people 12 and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future. Scientists are still researching which vaccines and doses best protect children under 12 years safely and effectively. The FDA and CDC is expected to approve a vaccine for children ages 5-11 years old in the coming weeks.

Category: 02. Vaccines

No. There is no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems in women or men.

Category: 02. Vaccines

Many people do not have any side effects after getting the vaccine.
Some common side effects include:
• pain, redness and swelling on the arm where you got the shot
• tiredness
• headache
• muscle pain
• chills
• fever
• nausea

Category: 02. Vaccines

No. The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain any parts of the virus, so they can’t give you COVID-19.

Category: 02. Vaccines

03. Testing (11)

No. Employers are not required to pay for testing if an employee is not fully vaccinated. However, employers are encouraged to make it as easy as possible for employees to get vaccinated and/or tested.

Category: 03. Testing

Yes. Approved in-home PCR tests are available online and in pharmacies. Search “at home COVID PCR test” on Google or call your nearest pharmacy for more information. IDPH recommends using a PCR test because they are the most reliable and accurate.

Category: 03. Testing

Test results must be provided in writing (paper or electronic copy) and must include information that confirms the person’s identity, the type of test that was done (must be NAAT or antigen test), the test result, the clinic or compant that is providing the test result, and the date the test was performed.

Category: 03. Testing

If you are fully vaccinated, you should get tested 3-5 days after you were exposed to someone with COVID-19. If you are not fully vaccinated, you should get tested right away. If your first test is negative, get tested again 5-7 days after you were exposed. Quarantine yourself for at least 7 days from exposure and make sure you have a negative test before leaving quarantine. To be extra safe, stay in quarantine for 14 days. If you are vaccinated you don’t need to quarantine. Both people who are vaccinated and unvaccinated should monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days after their exposure.

Category: 03. Testing

No. Antibody tests should not be used to diagnose a current infection and are not recommended to meet the requirements of Executive Order 2021-22.

Category: 03. Testing

Viral tests – also known as PCR or rapid antigen tests – show whether you have a current COVID infection.

Tags: PCR, Testing
Category: 03. Testing

All Cook County residents aged 12 years or older are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Currently, children under 18 can only receive the Pfizer vaccine and must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. In some cases, parental consent can be given in advance. Vaccinations are free, regardless of insurance or immigration status. Visit myshotcookcounty.com or cookcountypublichealth.org to find a site near you.

Category: 03. Testing

Employees should receive a viral/PCR test if possible. The test must have EUA/FDA approval.

Tags: PCR, Testing
Category: 03. Testing

Schools and other community-based testing sites do not need a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) waiver when collaborating with a testing provider for screening, such as SHIELD Illinois. The testing provider will be responsible for obtaining a CLIA waiver. Go here for info: https://shieldillinois.com/

Category: 03. Testing

You should be tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 and/or you were exposed to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. If you are not fully vaccinated, your work or school may require that you get tested every week.

Tags: Testing, Who
Category: 03. Testing

People who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 3 months and recovered do not need to be re-tested for COVID-19.

Category: 03. Testing

04. Prevention (1)

To prevent the spread of COVID, you should: get vaccinated, wear a mask, wash your hands, keep your distance from people who don’t live with you, and stay home when you’re sick.

Category: 04. Prevention

05. Masking (10)

Yes. Customers can remove their face coverings when actively eating and drinking but should wear face coverings at all other times when inside a bar or restaurant. It is recommended that tables be arranged so that seated patrons are a minimum of six feet away from patrons at other tables.

Category: 05. Masking

Yes. In Illinois, people in indoor public places must wear a face covering at all times, unless they can consistently maintain six feet of distance all of the time (such as when working in an office or cubicle).

Category: 05. Masking

Yes. Even if you’re vaccinated, you are required to wear a mask on public transportation.

Category: 05. Masking

Face coverings may be removed by workers at workplaces when they can consistently maintain six feet of distance from others.

Category: 05. Masking

Yes. Face coverings must be worn at all times when inside a health and fitness center, including while exercising.

Tags: Gyms, Masking
Category: 05. Masking

People are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings in crowded outdoor settings and for activities that involve close contact with people who are not fully vaccinated. Individual businesses can institute their own policies around masking outdoors, such as concert venues.

Category: 05. Masking

Yes. All employees and customers, regardless of vaccination status and ability to physically distance, must wear face coverings in retail settings.

Category: 05. Masking

It is not required but it is strongly recommended. We also recommend getting vaccinated, washing your hands frequently, keeping your distance from others and staying home if you’re sick. This will help to keep COVID from spreading.

Category: 05. Masking

Persons who cannot medically tolerate a face covering are exempt from the Order. Individuals and businesses might consider the following alternatives: – Allow the customer to wear a scarf, loose face covering, or full-face shield instead of a face covering. – Allow the customer to wear a scarf, loose face covering, or full-face shield instead of a face covering. – Allow the customer to wear a scarf, loose face covering, or full-face shield instead of a face covering. – Allow the customer to wait in a car for an appointment and enter the building when called or texted. – Offer appointments by telephone or video.

Category: 05. Masking

All individuals the age of 2 or over who can medically tolerate a face covering are required to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when in an indoor public place. All employees must wear face coverings in indoor workplaces.

Category: 05. Masking

06. Guidance/Mandates (8)

Tents, including those used for weddings, must have at least 50% of the sides open in order to be considered an outdoor area. Tents that do not have at least 50% of the sides open are considered public indoor places and occupants must wear face coverings, regardless of vaccination status or physical distancing.

Tags: Guidance, Masking

No. There are no domestic or international travel restrictions but the CDC does recommend delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated.

If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, follow the CDC’s recommendations found here.

Guidance for domestic travel can be found here.

Guidance for international travel can be found here.

Tag: Travel

No. School-aged children do not have to quarantine after returning from domestic travel.   They should continue to attend school in-person. However, they should get tested 3-5 days after returning from their trip and should monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days.

No. It is possible for a health care setting to be subject to the Executive Order, even if it is not listed.

Yes. Businesses and venues should post clear signage for patrons and the public instructing them on face covering requirements. Signage should be posted at entrances and in various locations throughout the premises, especially those where individuals may congregate. You can download signs in English and Spanish here: https://cookcountypublichealth.org/ccdph-covid-19-communications/

Governor Pritzker signed Executive Order 21-22 on September 3, 2021. This Order requires all individuals over the age of 2 and who can medically tolerate a face covering to wear a face covering when in indoor public places. The Executive Order also requires health care workers, school personnel, higher education personnel and students, and employees and contractors of state-owned or operated congregate facilities to be fully vaccinated.

Healthcare workers are defined as people who are employed, contracted or volunteer to provide services at a healthcare facility and are likely to be within 6 feet of others for more than 15 minutes at least once a week on a regular basis.

Local police and public health departments can use traditional police powers and public health authority to enforce the Executive Order.

07. Resources (1)

Yes. IDPH will provide free testing for all public PK-12 schools (includes tiers 1, 2, 3 and 4) and private schools through June 30, 2022 through the SHIELD Illinois program. For info, go here: http://shieldillinois.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/IDPH-SHIELD-IL-overview-091621.pdf

Category: 07. Resources

08. Contact Tracing (1)

If an employee who undergoes regular, weekly testing receives a postive COVID test result, they should immediately isolate at home. If they have symptoms, isolation should continue for 10 days starting with the day symptoms began. If they have no symptoms, isolation should continue for 10 days starting with the day the positive test was collected.

09. Misinformation (2)

Vaccination gives you the freedom to live a healthy life on your terms. It gives you the control to protect yourself from COVID-19.

Category: 09. Misinformation

Vaccination boosts the body’s natural defenses against disease to keep you free of infection. The vaccines are also preservative-free.

Category: 09. Misinformation

10. Miscellaneous (7)

If a person is employed at a facility that provides healthcare and is in close contact with visitors for more than 15 minutes on a regular basis, they are mandated to get vaccinated or be tested at least weekly.

Category: 10. Miscellaneous

Examples of Health Care Facilities include: pharmacies, ambulatory surgical treatment centers, free-standing emergency centers, birth centers, hospices, hospitals, physician offices, and dental offices. Health Care Facilities also include places that provide: urgent care, post-surgical recovery care, end-stage renal disease care, long-term care, specialized mental health rehabilitation, assistance with activities of daily living, mental health care, and public health services.

Category: 10. Miscellaneous

Examples of healthcare workers include: physicians, nurses, nursing assistants, physician assistants, pharmacists, EMS personnel, first responders, chiropractors, optometrists, dentists, dental hygienists, public health personnel, aides, staff and other personnel working in a health care facility.

Category: 10. Miscellaneous

A health care facility is a place that provides health services, medical treatment, rehabilitation or preventative care.

Category: 10. Miscellaneous

A “public indoor place” is an indoor event space, facility, or building where people visit or work. Examples of public indoor places include businesses, retail establishments, office buildings, entertainment venues, hotel meeting rooms and ballrooms, lobby areas, and indoor sports complexes.

Category: 10. Miscellaneous

The term “Health Care Facility” does not include any State-owned or operated facilities.

Category: 10. Miscellaneous

Contractors who make deliveries to a site where they are more than 6 feet from others or just quickly entering a site to pick up a shipment are not considered health care workers.

Category: 10. Miscellaneous

Got a question?

We’re here to answer your questions! Please fill out the form below and we will review. Answers will appear on this page. This page will be updated weekly so please check back. Thanks!

 

X