The Latest News


Community Help for FHN during COVID-19 Pandemic

April 1, 2020 – FHN has received many offers of assistance from the community related to responding to the spread of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). These are greatly appreciated! Here are ways you can help:

Financial contributions may be made online to FHN's COVID-19 Response Fund, where they will be used for the greatest need during the pandemic. Click the "Donate to the FHN COVID-19 Response Fund" button on our home page.

If you are interested in sewing masks, see www.fhn.org/coronavirus (click on "How You Can Help") for instructions and a pattern. Donated masks will be laundered at the hospital and then kept here until IDPH (Illinois Department of Health) approves the use of homemade masks in healthcare settings. At that point, FHN will keep some and the rest will be made available for area nursing homes and other care providers.

Homemade masks may be dropped off at FHN Specialty Care - Stephenson Street, across the street from FHN Memorial Hospital in Freeport.

Other donations, including hand sanitizer, commercially-made or handmade masks, and any other items potentially useful for healthcare may be dropped off at FHN Specialty Care - Stephenson Street.

If you have questions, please call Volunteer Services at 815-599-6752 or send us a private message through our Facebook page. FHN is grateful for your assistance!

First COVID-19 Patient Hospitalized at FHN Memorial Hospital

March 26, 2020 – FHN is confirming the hospitalization of its first patient testing positive for COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) at FHN Memorial Hospital. The patient, in their 50s, had a positive COVID-19 test result reported on March 25. Previously, the patient had been quarantined at home after experiencing symptoms earlier in the week. This is the second confirmed case of COVID-19 in Stephenson County. Specific information related to this patient will not be shared due to federal patient privacy laws (HIPAA).

The Stephenson County Health Department and FHN have been expecting this and have been working diligently to be ready for it. FHN has been anticipating a positive COVID-19 patient within the hospital setting and has prepared extensively. The safety of FHN patients, providers and staff, and the community are the utmost priority throughout this pandemic.

FHN has been closely collaborating with the Stephenson County Health Department to ensure the plan of care for patients in and outside of the hospital are in alignment with recommendations from the Illinois Department of Health (IDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Current precautions are in place at FHN to reduce the spread of the virus, which is highly contagious, including visitor restrictions at all FHN locations, rescheduling of non-critical treatments/procedures, and internal infection control processes for all staff and providers.

Except in emergency cases, individuals who think they may have COVID-19 or who believe they have been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with or is under evaluation for the disease should STAY HOME and CALL their healthcare provider or FHN for further direction.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, and confirmed additional risks such as other health conditions or travel to areas with widespread infections - for more information on symptoms and risk factors, visit www.fhn.org/coronavirus. Do not go to the Emergency Department at FHN Memorial Hospital, FHN/Physicians Immediate Care Urgent Care Clinic, or any FHN provider office without calling first and receiving instruction as to how to proceed.

FHN has implemented an online screening tool on our home page for individuals to check themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 as well as a hotline for mobile testing of COVID-19 where callers are screened to determine their risk level and appointments for the testing are scheduled if appropriate. Individuals can NOT be tested at the mobile location without an appointment. The hotline number is 815-599-6412.

At this time, there is no approved treatment or vaccine for COVID-19 so the best course of action is to work as a community to limit its spread. It has been proven that as many as 4 out of 5 cases of COVID-19 are transmitted through a person who has only mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, so it is easy for people to be carriers of the disease to others who are more at risk.

As reminders of how to help reduce the spread...

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; if soap and water, which are preferred, are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with tissues, then toss tissues in trash; if you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper arm.
  • Avoid touching anywhere on the face as much as possible.
  • Practice social distancing; avoid contact with people who are sick (with any disease).
  • STAY HOME if you are not feeling well.
  • Stay current on orders from your health department and state regarding shelter-in-place or other mandates.
If individuals are enrolled in FHN's online information portal MyFHN, they can use the "message" capability to send a message directly to their FHN provider to ask questions or inquire about symptoms. Anyone, including people who are not FHN patients, can also use FHNow, FHN's telemedicine service, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Callers do not need to have an FHN provider, and can speak face-to-face with a healthcare provider via videoconference on phones, tablets, or laptop computers. It's fast and easy to sign up - visit www.fhn.org/FHNow for instructions. (An online visit with FHNow is $59)

For more local information, visit FHN.org/Coronavirus; for more information on COVID-19 nationally, visit Coronavirus.gov.

FHN Announces Temporary Office and Procedure Changes Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

March 26, 2020 – In accordance with guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic, FHN continues to ask patients seeking routine care or with respiratory symptoms to stay at home rather than coming to FHN facilities. In addition, elective procedures have been rescheduled for future dates in order to minimize population density at FHN locations.

As a result of following this necessary guidance from IDPH and the CDC, daily patient visit numbers have dropped significantly at many FHN locations. In order to conserve resources, including staff time, some services and locations have been consolidated on a temporary basis. This includes closing some offices early and others completely until stay-at-home mandates change. Some providers and procedures also may be temporarily relocated in order to provide more patient distancing when possible.

Because these changes will fluctuate based on patient volumes, patients are urged to call their providers and/or provider offices in advance of any visit, planned or unplanned, to confirm the office schedule. Walk-in visits will not be possible or accepted at most locations. In an emergency, of course, the Emergency Department at FHN Memorial Hospital remains open 24/7; FHN remains committed to ensuring access to needed care.

Calling ahead also applies to FHN's testing process for COVID-19, which also adheres to IDPH and CDC guidelines; no testing will be done without an appointment. Individuals who feel they may have symptoms of COVID-19 may self-screen their symptoms with FHN's online screening tool at www.fhn.org or call FHN's COVID-19 hotline at 815-599-6412.

Patients can call their providers anytime to ask questions or inquire about symptoms, and if enrolled in MyFHN, FHN's free patient portal, can also email their provider in a secure messaging environment (if patients are not enrolled, they can easily do so following instructions at https://www.fhn.org/MyFHN.asp ). Anyone, including people who are not FHN patients, can also use FHNow, FHN's telemedicine service, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Callers do not need to have an FHN provider, and can speak face-to-face with a healthcare provider via videoconference on phones, tablets, or laptop computers. It's fast and easy to sign up - visit www.fhn.org/FHNow for instructions. (An online visit with FHNow is $59)

Please remember that at this time, there is no approved treatment or vaccine for COVID-19 so the best course of action is to work as a community to limit its spread. It has been proven that as many as 4 out of 5 cases of COVID-19 are transmitted through a person who has only mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, so it is easy for people to be carriers of the disease to others who are more at risk.

As reminders of how to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 ...

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; if soap and water, which are preferred, are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with tissues, then toss tissues in trash; if you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper arm.
  • Avoid touching anywhere on the face as much as possible.
  • Practice social distancing; avoid contact with people who are sick (with any disease).
  • STAY HOME if you are not feeling well.
  • Stay current on orders from your health department and state regarding shelter-in-place or other mandates.
For more local information, visit FHN.org/Coronavirus; for more information on COVID-19 in Illinois go to www.dph.illinois.gov, and for national information, visit Coronavirus.gov.

Free Self-Screening Tool Available

March 25, 2020 – FHN is offering a free online screening tool for people who think they may have contracted COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus). It is available now on our home page.

"This tool walks you through what symptoms you may be experiencing, and explains the symptoms of COVID-19 very well,” said FHN Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer/Chief Nursing Officer Kathy Martinez, MSN, RN, FACHE. “It's not intended to be an actual visit with your healthcare provider, but it can let you know if you need to give your provider a call about your symptoms."

For more information on COVID-19, visit our dedicated page at www.fhn.org/coronavirus.

Community Help for FHN during COVID-19 Pandemic

March 23, 2020 – FHN has received many offers of assistance from the community related to responding to the spread of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). These are greatly appreciated! Here are ways you can help.

  • Financial contributions may be made to the COVID-19 Response Fund at the FHN Foundation, where they will be used for the greatest need during the pandemic.
  • If you are interested in sewing masks, an approved pattern is posted below. It is a simple pattern called the Deaconess (in 1924, FHN was known for a while as the Evangelical Deaconess Hospital). While using elastic is preferred, ties will work if no elastic is available.
    • The masks will be laundered at the hospital and then kept here until IDPH (Illinois Department of Health) approves the use of homemade masks in healthcare settings. At that point, FHN will keep some and the rest will be made available for area nursing homes and other care providers.
    • Homemade masks may be dropped off at FHN Specialty Care - Stephenson Street, 1036 W., Stephenson St. in Freeport. JoAnn Fabrics has launched a national effort through all of their stores, including Freeport, for people wishing to sew masks and they are putting together kits for that purpose. The store in Freeport will be asking that the Deaconess pattern be used. Masks made through their program can be returned to the Freeport store, which will deliver them to FHN.
  • Other donations, including hand sanitizer, commercially made masks, and any other items potentially useful for healthcare may be left inside the entrance to FHN Specialty Care - Stephenson Street, 1036 W., Stephenson St. in Freeport. Donors can pull through the circle drive there and leave their items in the large boxes just inside the first automatically opening door from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Homemade masks may also be left in these boxes.
If you have questions, please call Volunteer Services at 815-599-6752 or send us a private message through our Facebook page. FHN is grateful for your assistance!

Download instructions for making masks or watch one of two videos, below, for how-to's - either of the patterns described will work great. THANK YOU!.


First Positive COVID-19 Case in Stephenson County

March 22, 2020 – The first case of COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus) has been confirmed in Stephenson County. The patient, a teenager, is quarantined at home. Further public identification is not permitted under federal patient privacy law (HIPAA).

The Stephenson County Health Department and FHN have been expecting a case for some time and have been working diligently to prepare for the arrival of COVID-19 in our community. Current precautions are in place at FHN to reduce the spread of the virus, which is highly contagious, including visitor restrictions at all FHN locations, rescheduling of non-critical treatments/procedures, and internal infection control processes for all staff and providers.

Except in emergency cases, individuals who think they may have COVID-19 or who believe they have been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with or is under evaluation for the disease should STAY HOME and CALL their healthcare provider or FHN for further direction.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, and confirmed additional risks such as other health conditions or travel to areas with widespread infections - for more information on symptoms and risk factors, visit www.fhn.org/coronavirus. Do not go to the Emergency Department at FHN Memorial Hospital, FHN/PIC Urgent Care Clinic, or any FHN provider office without calling first and receiving instruction as to how to proceed.

FHN has also implemented a hotline for mobile testing of COVID-19 where callers are screened to determine their risk level and appointments for the testing are scheduled if appropriate. Individuals can NOT be tested at the mobile location without an appointment. The hotline number is 815-599-6412.

At this time, there is no approved treatment or vaccine for COVID-19 so the best course of action is to work as a community to limit its spread. It has been proven than as many as 4 out 5 cases of COVID-19 are transmitted through a person who has only mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, so it is easy for people to be carriers of the disease to others who are more at risk.

As reminders of how to help reduce the spread...

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; if soap and water, which are preferred, are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with tissues, then toss tissues in trash; if you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper arm.
  • Avoid touching anywhere on the face as much as possible.
  • Practice social distancing; avoid contact with people who are sick (with any disease).
  • STAY HOME if you are not feeling well.
  • Stay current on orders from your health department and state regarding shelter-in-place or other mandates.
If you are enrolled in FHN's online information portal MyFHN, use the "message" capability to send a message directly to your FHN provider about your symptoms. He or she may ask you to call their office and talk to a nurse. Anyone, including people who are not FHN patients, can also use FHNow, FHN's telemedicine service, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Callers do not need to have an FHN provider, and can speak face-to-face with a healthcare provider via videoconference on phones, tablets, or laptop computers. It's fast and easy to sign up - visit www.fhn.org/FHNow for instructions. (An online visit with FHNow is $59: More information is online.)

For more local information, visit FHN.org/Coronavirus; for more information on COVID-19 nationally, visit Coronavirus.gov.

FHN Providing Mobile Testing for COVID-19

March 18, 2020 – With many individuals requesting testing for COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus) and confusion at some employers as to when they should expect their employees to be tested, FHN is now providing drive-through mobile testing.

Due to the limited number of tests available nationwide at this time, this testing is by appointment only and must be scheduled in advance; individuals without appointments who arrive at the site will be asked to return only if an appointment has been scheduled through the testing scheduling number 815-599-6412, which will be open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday - Friday, beginning Thursday, March 19.

Callers will be screened, which means asking questions about any current symptoms, recent travel, and interactions with others, as well as determining if callers may be at higher risk for complications from COVID-19 as outlined below. Answers to these screening questions will determine if callers meet testing criteria and will provide direction for the next course of action, which may include testing at FHN's mobile location.

People with fever and/or signs of lower respiratory illness such as cough or shortness of breath (not symptoms of a typical cold or upper respiratory condition) and meet any of the below criteria may be tested:

  • Any person, including healthcare workers, who has had close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient within 14 days of symptom onset
  • A history of travel from affected geographic areas within 14 days of symptom onset (currently China, South Korea, Iran, Italy, parts of Europe, and Japan)
  • The individual is from a congregate living or healthcare facility (staff and/or patient/resident) with clusters of infection not due to influenza and suspected to be due to COVID-19
  • The patient is at higher risk for complications from COVID-19 and for whom rapid test results are more likely to impact clinical care/outcomes (adults age 65 years and older, people with chronic medical conditions and/or an immunocompromised state that may put them at higher risk for poor outcomes
  • Other persons who have been evaluated by a medical professional and are deemed high priority, including hospitalized patients with unexplained pneumonia.
The COVID-19 test is a nasopharyngeal specimen swab, sometimes referred to as an NP swab or test. A long swab is inserted deep into the nasal cavity, often around 3 inches beyond where the nose attaches to the rest of the head, until the patient coughs.

FHN's mobile test site is in the parking lot of the FHN Specialty Care - Harlem Avenue, 25 North Harlem Avenue (enter from Harlem Avenue) just north of FHN Memorial Hospital. Patients arriving for testing must present a photo ID upon arrival to confirm their appointment.

While there is currently no treatment for COVID-19, people who are mildly ill can be safe at home. While at home, as much as possible, they should stay in a specific room if living with others and away from other people who may visit.

Those who feel they need medical attention should contact their healthcare provider or local healthcare organization, who can evaluate whether they remain at home or need further testing or treatment. Please do not go to any Emergency Department expecting to be tested unless in medical distress.

If you are enrolled in FHN's online information portal MyFHN, use the "message" capability to send a message directly to your FHN provider about your symptoms. He or she may ask you to call their office and talk to a nurse.

Anyone, including people who are not FHN patients, can also use FHNow, FHN's telemedicine service, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Callers do not need to have an FHN provider, and can speak face-to-face with a healthcare provider via videoconference on phones, tablets, or laptop computers. It's fast and easy to sign up - visit www.fhn.org/FHNow for instructions and more information. (An online visit with FHNow is $59: More information is online.)

For more information, visit FHN.org/Coronavirus.

FHN Memorial Hospital Implements COVID-19 Visitor Restrictions

March 17, 2020 – Due to the spread of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), FHN Memorial Hospital has implemented additional visitor restrictions, including:

  • No visitors for patients hospitalized for general treatment/procedures except for emergencies or end-of-life situations
  • Only one significant other allowed at a time for new mothers/babies in the Birthing Center; no siblings or other visitors under 18
  • One visitor at a time for Emergency Room patients; no visitors under 18
Visitors can go to the main registration desk during business hours with questions, or the check-in desk in the ER after hours or for ER questions.

Illinois COVID-19 Hotline and Email Address
If you have questions about Coronavirus, call the Illinois Coronavirus (COVID-19) Hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email DPH.SICK@ILLINOIS.GOV 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

For more local information, visit FHN.org/Coronavirus; for more information on COVID-19 nationally, visit Coronavirus.gov.

Updated - FHN Implements COVID-19 Testing Criteria

March 16, 2020 – With many individuals requesting testing for COVID-19 (the novel Coronavirus) and confusion at some employers as to when they should expect their employees to be tested, FHN is reminding everyone of the criteria for testing.

As has been accurately reported, as of this date global availability of testing kits for COVID-19 is limited so not all people can be tested on request. Individuals are first screened, which means asking questions about any recent travel and interactions with others, as well as determining if they may be at higher risk for complications from COVID-19, such as adults age 65 years and older or people with chronic medical conditions and/or an immunocompromised state. Once these questions are answered, a provider will determine if they should be tested.

People who display fever and/or signs of lower respiratory illness such as cough or shortness of breath and meet any of the below criteria may be tested:

  • Any person, including healthcare workers, who has had close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient within 14 days of symptom onset
  • A history of travel from affected geographic areas within 14 days of symptom onset (currently China, South Korea, Iran, Italy, parts of Europe, and Japan)
  • The individual is from a congregate living or healthcare facility (staff and/or patient/resident) with clusters of infection not due to influenza and suspected to be due to COVID-19
  • The patient is at higher risk for complications from COVID-19 and for whom rapid test results are more likely to impact clinical care/outcomes (adults age 65 years and older, people with chronic medical conditions and/or an immunocompromised state that may put them at higher risk for poor outcomes
  • Other persons who have been evaluated by a medical professional and are deemed high priority, including hospitalized patients with unexplained pneumonia
COVID-19 Testing Criteria Chart

If individuals do not meet these criteria, they may be tested for seasonal flu or be asked to self-quarantine until their symptoms change. According to the Centers for Disease Control, anyone who has been ill (with the COVID-19 virus, the flu or any other sickness) should stay home until their temperature has stayed below 100.4°F (37.8°C) for at least 24 hours, without the help of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicine.

If people are enrolled in FHN's online information portal MyFHN, they can use the "message" capability to send a message directly to FHN providers about symptoms. He or she may ask patients to call their office and talk to a nurse.

Anyone, including people who are not FHN patients, can also use FHNow, FHN's telemedicine service, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Callers do not need to have an FHN provider, and can speak face-to-face with a healthcare provider via videoconference on phones, tablets, or laptop computers. It's fast and easy to sign up - visit FHNow for instructions and more information. (Costs apply: See www.fhn.org/fhn-now.asp for information.)

Illinois COVID-19 Hotline and Email Address
If you have questions about Coronavirus, call the Illinois Coronavirus (COVID-19) Hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email DPH.SICK@ILLINOIS.GOV 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

For more local information, visit FHN.org/Coronavirus; for more information on COVID-19 nationally, visit Coronavirus.gov.

Community Video Wins $750 for River Ridge Post-Prom

March 16, 2020 – Explore JDC Drug and Alcohol Free, a short, creative video suggesting fun, alcohol - and drug-free things to do during prom and graduation season, is the winner of this year's Jo Daviess County Juvenile Justice Council (JDCJJ) Video Contest.

The video, available for viewing on the FHN YouTube channel, won a $750 JDCJJ donation to the River Ridge High School for post-prom events.

"We asked parents and community members to make a short video to show their support in keeping our youth safe and alcohol-free this spring," said FHN Partnerships for Success Coordinator Joanne Muzzey. "Community and parent involvement is important in helping teens avoid drugs and alcohol this season - and a donation for post-prom will help, too!"

Keep up to date on the latest news regarding the Illinois Youth Survey and local anti-drug and alcohol efforts, visit the Illinois Youth Survey Facebook page at facebook.com/CPRDIYS.