Will County Health Department reports 107 new Coronavirus cases

By Rex Robinson | 8/7/2020, 7:54 p.m.
The Will County Health Department on Wednesday reported a total of 9,120 Coronavirus cases on Friday, an increase of 107 ...

The Will County Health Department on Wednesday reported a total of 9,120 Coronavirus cases on Friday, an increase of 107 from Thursday, and reported deaths from the virus remained unchanged during the same period at 345.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 190,508 statewide Coronavirus cases on Friday, an increase of 2,084 from Thursday and reported deaths from the virus statewide increased by 19 to 7,613. More than 2.98 million people had been tested for the virus, IDPH officials said.

Meanwhile, the Will County Health Department late last month began ramping up its contact-tracing program for COVID-19 utilizing what department officials are calling a “best practice” for tracking communicable diseases. 

As part of Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan, health departments must begin contact tracing in 90 percent of new cases within 24 hours, Will County Health Department Director Sue Olenek said.

“Contact tracing is a best practice,” she said. “This is what health departments do all the time with other diseases such as STDs and HIV.”  

The Health Department received a $4.9 million grant from the Illinois Department of Public Health to hire contact tracers, managers, nurses, and even IT support to ensure that information gathered during the pandemic remains confidential.  

“Basically we’re gearing up another department,” Olenek said.

Currently, there are 20 contact tracers and the Health Department expects to add about another 20 in the coming weeks.  All will be trained to talk to people with confirmed cases of COVID-19 or close contacts of a COVID case about who they have come in contact with and connect them to resources, such as a doctor, a social worker or assistance finding housing, as needed.

Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox recently saw a slight uptick in the number of patients coming in and testing positive for the virus.

“Overall, the number of COVID-related patients at Silver Cross has significantly decreased over the past few months,” said the hospital's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Christopher Udovich, . “We have seen a slight increase over the last few days, which could be related to July 4th get-togethers or even Phase 4 reopening in Illinois."

Udovich stressed the increase has been small, and the number of cases in the region has remained flat, confirming that masking and social distancing measures are effective. Silver Cross Hospital's current number of COVID-positive and suspected COVID is at 24 (17 positive and 7 persons under investigation) four of which are being cared for in the intensive care unit, he added.

“Here at Silver Cross, we continue to welcome more patients back to the hospital for all types of services," Udovich said. “Last week, we opened our new on-campus Urgent Care Center; we reopened our cardiac rehabilitation program with added safety precautions and adaptations; and yesterday, we reopened our outpatient endoscopy center.

“I also wanted to take this opportunity to reassure the community, it is safe to come to Silver Cross. If you have a medical emergency or need to have surgery, don’t delay your care.”

At AMITA St. Joseph Medical Center in Joliet COVID-19 cases are significantly lower than they have been in recent months, according to Olga Solares, spokeswoman for AMITA Health.


Social Distancing

This video is offered courtesy of the Will County Health Department.

This video is offered courtesy of the Will County Health Department.

Illinois is currently in Phase 4 of the five-phase Restore Illinois Plan and many more businesses have re-opened.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker's administration has been working to expand COVID-19 testing capability across the state. There are currently three state-run drive-thru testing sites in Evanston, Pekin, and Markham along with dozens of other testing sites at health centers in every region of the state. A list of testing sites, their contact information, and their eligibility requirements for testing can be found at https://coronavirus.illinois.gov/s/testing-sites

More information about coronavirus cases in Illinois and Will County is at https://coronavirus.illinois.gov/.