Effingham, IL – As COVID cases rise across the country and closer to home in Illinois, HSHS Medical Group and HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital urge community members to get tested for COVID if they are ill to reduce the virus’ spread.
The Importance of Testing
“It’s important to know if your symptoms are COVID or possibly the flu, common cold or seasonal allergies,” says Dr. Angela Azor, MD, family medicine physician with HSHS Medical Group. “Knowing why you are ill helps your doctor determine how to treat your symptoms. If your test is positive, you can immediately follow quarantine guidelines to protect your household and avoid spreading COVID around the community.”
“Testing is especially important as our kids and educators return to school,” says Dr. Azor. “Because young children can’t receive the vaccine, they are at higher risk for COVID. They can also be contagious, even if they do not have symptoms.”
Get a Test Even if You are Vaccinated
“Vaccination is the best protection you can give yourself and your loved ones, but it doesn’t mean you can’t get COVID,” says Dr. Azor. “Vaccination has proven to significantly reduce your risk of severe illness and hospitalization. Vaccinated people can also spread COVID, although they are less contagious than an unvaccinated person. If you are vaccinated and have symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID, get tested to be sure you aren’t spreading COVID to those around you.”
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that fully vaccinated people who have come into close contact with someone with suspected or confirmed COVID are tested 3-5 days after exposure, and to wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result.
Watch for These Symptoms
If you have any of these symptoms, have been exposed to someone with COVID, or need a COVID screening to return to work or school, you can receive a free COVID assessment and testing:
- Fever greater than 100.0
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle or body aches
- Abdominal pain
- Congestion or runny nose
- New loss of taste or smell
HSHS COVID Testing Options in Effingham
HSHS Medical Group offers drive-thru tests at 900 W. Temple Avenue, in the tent behind building A. Testing hours are Monday through Friday, 10 – 11:10 am and 1:30 – 3 pm. Those who wish to be tested must schedule an appointment through the HSHS online patient portal, MyChart.
You do not have to be an established HSHS Medical Group patient to set up an account on MyChart or to access a free test. MyChart can be accessed at www.hshsmyhealthrecord.com or downloaded as an app on Apple or Google Play. It takes just minutes to set up an account, complete a short assessment and register for a test.
Upon registration, MyChart users are able to choose between four different drive-thru testing sites in Decatur, Effingham, O’Fallon, and Springfield. Testing sites are a service of HSHS Medical Group and are located off-site from local HSHS hospitals.
St. Anthony’s Convenient Care, located inside St. Anthony’s Health Center at 900 W. Temple Ave., building B, offers COVID testing with a provider visit Monday through Friday, 10 am to 8 pm; and Saturday, 8 am to 6 pm. Visit www.stanthonyshospital.org/savemyspot to reserve your spot in line and get updates via text.
Patients are encouraged to sign up for the MyChart patient portal at www.hshsmyhealthrecord.com in order to get test results as soon as they are posted.
How to Get a COVID Vaccine
Visit the Effingham County Health Department website at http://effcohealth.org/covid-registration-3/ for more information on COVID vaccines available in Effingham.
To find an HSHS vaccine clinic near you, visit www.HSHS.org/vaccine.
About HSHS Medical Group
HSHS Medical Group is the physician organization of Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS). Launched in 2009, HSHS Medical Group is a critical component of the HSHS Care Integration strategy, which focuses on bringing physicians, technology and patients together to improve the overall health of our communities. Today, HSHS Medical Group is comprised of over 1,300 colleagues in locations throughout central and southern Illinois. HSHS Medical Group is powered by the Franciscan history of the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, and our faith-based identity led us to the single most important tenet of the HSHS Medical Group philosophy — patient-first care. For more information about HSHS Medical Group, visit HSHSMedicalGroup.org.
About Hospital Sisters Health System
Hospital Sisters Health System’s (HSHS) mission is to reveal and embody Christ’s healing love for all people through our high-quality Franciscan health care ministry. HSHS provides state-of-the-art health care to our patients and is dedicated to serving all people, especially the most vulnerable, at each of our physician practices and 15 local hospitals in two states – Illinois (Breese, Decatur, Effingham, Greenville, Highland, Litchfield, O’Fallon, Shelbyville, and Springfield) and Wisconsin (Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Oconto Falls, Sheboygan and two in Green Bay). HSHS is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries, and Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the founding institute. For more information about HSHS, visit www.hshs.org.