COVID-19 General Information

Information about Coronavirus/COVID-19 is changing rapidly as we learn more information this page will be updated as it becomes available.

United Way’s primary concern is the safety and health of our community. We are watching the developments closely in our region. This page is dedicated to general information about COVID-19. To see up to date information about our community, please click here.


Anyone wanting information regarding the Coronavirus/COVID-19 or related services is encouraged to call 2-1-1 or 1-888-865-9903. This confidential, toll free call is available 24/7 to provide the most accurate and up to date information from our country’s most trusted and reliable experts.


Learn more about coronavirus disease 2019 from the CDC
(CDC information includes prevention strategies, case counts, frequently asked questions and answers, travel guidance,.)

What is COVID-19? 

There are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused be a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.

The World Health Organization (WHO) published this video which helps answer many common questions about the origin and spread of the virus.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? 

Fever, cough, and shortness of breath are the most common symptoms of COVID-19 and are similar to symptoms of a common cold or the flu.  

What should I do if I or someone I care for is sick? 

If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, are over the age of 60, or have an underlying medical condition like heart, lung, or kidney disease, and develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider immediately. If you are young, otherwise healthy, and have not been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 or recently traveled to a country with a high rate of COVID-19, stay home and treat your symptoms as you would with a common cold. 

More information from the CDC here.

Is COVID-19 fatal? 

While people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. and abroad, the majority of people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 do recover. The virus appears to only be severe if it reaches the lungs and remains untreated. Most otherwise healthy people can recover from COVID-19 at home. 

Are there confirmed COVID-19 cases in my community? 

The CDC has made a map available to the public with information about confirmed COVID-19 cases by state. For specific information about your community, visit the website for your state health department and look for COVID-19 updates. Regardless of whether there is an active outbreak in your community, you should wash your hands thoroughly, cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing, and stay home if experiencing cold or flu symptoms when at all possible. 

Who is at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19? 

Older adults and people who have severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease seem to be at higher risk for more serious COVID-19 illness. 

There is not currently information from published scientific reports about susceptibility of pregnant women to COVID-19. Pregnant women experience immunologic and physiologic changes which might make them more susceptible to viral respiratory infections, including COVID-19. 

There is no evidence that children are more susceptible to COVID-19. In fact, most confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported from China have occurred in adults. Infections in children have been reported, including in very young children. There is an ongoing investigation to determine more about this outbreak. 

More information about risk from the CDC available here.

How does the virus spread? 

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person between people who are in close contact (within 6 feet) with one another through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest) but some spread might be possible before people show symptoms.

It may also be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. 

More information about transmission from the CDC here.

Should I keep my children home from school or avoid going to work? 

There are a limited number of schools and workplaces that are closed in the U.S. You should follow guidance from your specific school district and employer about closures. At this time, it is not necessary to keep children home from school or avoid going to work unless told to do so by local officials. 

Should I cancel my travel plans? 

The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to reconsider travel abroad at this time due to the global impact of COVID-19. If you have a trip planned, check the CDC’s site for a risk assessment of your destination and follow guidance provided about self-quarantining upon return. If you travel, take the same precautions you would while home to avoid getting sick or spreading germs including washing your hands thoroughly and often and avoiding contact with sick people. If you are returning or have returned from traveling abroad, visit the State Department’s website detailing requirements by origin country.


CDC Guidance Information

Read guidance information for long-term care facilities

Read guidance information for schools and childcare facilities

Read guidance information for higher education

Read guidance information for businesses and employers

Illinois Department for Public Health:

To watch Illinois COVID-19 Press Updates, please click here.

Sangamon County Department of Public Health: