Updated March 25, 2020
Esperanza is closely monitoring the ongoing developments about COVID-19, otherwise known as coronavirus. The past several weeks have been a period of tremendous uncertainty due to the outbreak of coronavirus, but we want to share some basic information about the virus and the steps that we are taking – and you should take – to protect your health and minimize the spread of COVID-19 in our community.
What is COVID-19 (coronavirus)?
A novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing the disease is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold. Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness for confirmed coronavirus cases.
The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:
- Shortness of breath
If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, please call 9-1-1. Emergency warning signs include:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- Sudden confusion or difficulty waking up
- Bluish lips or face
How can I protect myself from infection?
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially if you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash and immediately wash your hands.
- Please limit unnecessary travel, stay home from school or work (if possible), and avoid gatherings to help slow the spread of disease.
- Please remember that people with chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure, and those 60 and older may be at higher risk for severe illness if they become infected with coronavirus. Check in with your loved ones and do limit your exposure to them if you believe you may have contracted COVID-19.
What is Esperanza doing in response to the pandemic?
- All Esperanza sites are currently open for your primary care and behavioral health needs.
In order to minimize potential exposure risks while providing access to our behavioral health services, our counselors will conduct sessions over the phone or video where ever possible so patients do not need to leave their homes or come to the clinic. Click here for more information.
- All Esperanza programs are cancelled until further notice.
- Patients who drive to the clinic may be asked to wait in their cars after registering until they are called for their appointment. This may happen more often during peak hours.
- We are asking all patients to not bring any additional friends or family to their visits to minimize potential exposure to the coronavirus.
- If you are a patient and experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness and/or fever, PLEASE CALL US FIRST at 773-584-6200 so that one of our registered nurses can evaluate your symptoms over the phone. You will be asked about your travel history and your symptoms before deciding next steps.
- We are taking special care to sanitize surfaces around the clinic, including door handles, touch-screen kiosks and other high-touch areas.
- If you are at the clinic and experiencing symptoms of illness, please help us do our part by not using touch-screen kiosks for registration. Instead, we ask you to check in directly with Esperanza personnel at the front desk.
- COVID-19 testing is available at Esperanza, but only if you have symptoms, come in close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 (meaning being within six feet of that individual), or if your recent travel history includes countries identified by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Please follow the following prevention and treatment tips from the CDC that help avoid the spread of this illness. Visit CDC and Chicago Department of Public Health for more updates as they become available.