Plumbing Systems and Water Quality Guidance

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Plumbing and Water Quality Program has issued this memorandum to building owners and operators, and public water supply operators to provide guidance for maintaining water quality and safety in building water systems and in potable water distribution systems during periods of reduced use and considerations for returning building water systems to regular use.

Audience: 

Confirmed or Possible COVID-19

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or develop symptoms of COVID-19 after you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, please follow the steps below to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community.

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath. Other symptoms may include chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. If you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, and are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, you should contact your doctor to see if you need to be tested. Learn more about COVID-19 illness and other symptoms here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html.

Concerned but not Exposed

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, get in touch with your health care provider within 24 hours and follow the steps below to help prevent your infection from spreading to people in your home and community.

Could I have COVID-19?

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms from mild to severe, which can appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus, and include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, muscle pain, fatigue, headache, congestion or runny nose, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. If you have any of these symptoms, even if you are not aware of being around anyone with COVID-19, you may have COVID-19 or another respiratory virus. COVID-19 is circulating in many communities, but other respiratory viruses also may be present in your community.

Should I get tested for COVID-19?

Currently, anyone with symptoms of COVD-19 is encouraged to be tested.

Potential Exposure

What to do if you were potentially exposed to someone with confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

If you think you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, follow the steps below to monitor your health and to avoid spreading the disease to others.

How do I know if I was exposed?

You generally need to be in close contact with a person with COVID-19 to get infected. Close contact includes:

FAQ for Businesses Concerning Use of Face-Coverings During COVID-19

These frequently asked questions are to provide guidance regarding the application of the face covering requirement in Executive Order 2021-10 for businesses and other places of public accommodation subject to Article 5 of the Illinois Human Rights Act, 775 ILCS 5/.

When Face Coverings are Required

Q: What does it mean to wear a face covering?

A: A face covering is a mask or cloth face covering that covers your nose and mouth. The face covering should allow for breathing without restriction. There is no requirement to wear a hospital grade mask or other specific type or brand of face covering. You may wear a homemade face covering if it fits closely and covers your nose and mouth. For more specific information on how to make or care for your face covering, visit the Illinois Department of Public Health website at http://www.dph.illinois.gov/covid19/community-guidance/mask-use.

Guidance for Food and Meat Processing Facilities

COVID-19 Operational Guidance for Food and Meat Processing Facilities and Workplaces with Assembly Lines

This guidance document provides parameters for food and meat processing facilities and manufacturing facilities (collectively, “facilities”) to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and to protect their workers.

Pursuant to the Department of Public Health Act, 20 ILCS 2305/2, and the Illinois Control of Communicable Diseases Code, 77 Ill. Adm. Code 690, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and certified local health departments have the authority and responsibility to investigate and control infectious disease outbreaks, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Guidance on the Use of Masks by the General Public

SARS-CoV-2 is a novel coronavirus that has emerged and caused coronavirus disease (abbreviated as COVID-19). Public health experts continue to learn about COVID-19, but based on current data and similar coronaviruses, the virus is believed to be spread between close contacts via respiratory droplets or contact with contaminated surfaces. While staying home, social distancing, and strict hand hygiene are still preferred methods for preventing further spread of COVID-19, face masks are one more tool that may be used by the general public and essential workers to protect each other from respiratory droplets produced when we cough, sneeze, or talk.

Food Service Guidance

Because the virus causing COVID-19 is known to be transmitted by droplets produced by coughing or sneezing, avoiding close human contact is vital, especially with someone who is sick.  Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.  Hands should be washed often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.  If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.

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Food Establishment Guidance

Guidance for food establishments completely closed during this time period

  • Move all perishable/TCS (time/temperature control for safety) foods from smaller, non-commercial refrigeration units and prep-coolers to a walk-in cooler or other large capacity cooler that maintains temperature at 41 F or below. Make sure all food is properly stored and covered.
  • Freeze as many fresh or refrigerated foods as possible. Freezing bakery items, like bread, will inhibit molding.  Some produce, cheese, and pre-cooked meats can be frozen as well. 
  • Discard anything normally  thrown out  due to the seven-day date marking rule. For example, open dairy products, deli salads made on site, lunch meat, soft cheeses, and other packaged food that has been open.
  • Discard prepared foods held hot or cold since the closure will have been a minimum of two weeks, including cut fruits and vegetables.
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Business and Organization Guidance

The following interim guidance may help prevent workplace exposures to acute respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, in non-health care settings. The guidance also provides planning considerations in the event of widespread, community outbreaks of COVID-19.

To prevent stigma and discrimination in the workplace, use only the guidance described below to determine risk of COVID-19. Do not make risk determinations based on race or country of origin and be sure to maintain confidentiality of people with confirmed COVID-19. There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features of COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing.

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