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Will County Coronavirus cases on the rise

Shelter-in-place order throughout Illinois continues into first full week

By Rex Robinson | 3/22/2020, 10:12 p.m.
Illinois had a total of 1,049 positive confirmed cases of the Coronavirus, and nine confirmed deaths as of Sunday evening, ...

Illinois had a total of 1,049 positive confirmed cases of the Coronavirus, and nine confirmed deaths as of Sunday evening, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health's website.

A previous report from a Will County Health Department official that a man in his 50s from Homer Glen and a man in her 30s had died with the Coronavirus turned out to be inaccurate information provided by the Will County Health Department. Steve Brandy, spokesman for the department, contacted the Times Weekly Sunday Sunday to say that the information about the two deaths in the county should not have gone out and that it was a mistake on his part.

According to the IDPH, 8,274 people had been tested for the Coronavirus as of 5 p.m. Sunday.

Meanwhile, Gov. J.B Pritzker announced Friday of a mandatory statewide shelter in place order. Illinois residents, however, will be able to leave their homes for essentials such as groceries and medicine. More information is expected this afternoon.

"We ask everyone to please, stay home as much as possible so we can reduce the number of people who are infected and potentially suffer serious illness, including death," IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said.

There are 134 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) across Illinois.  Five additional counties are now reporting cases; Jackson, Kankakee, LaSalle, Washington, and  Williamson counties.    

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 422 cases in 22 counties in Illinois.  Cases have occurred in ages 9 to 99.  Cases by county can be found on the IDPH website, as well as a list of local health departments who will have the most up-to-date information.

The number of COVID-19 cases being reported is rising quickly, partly because of the increase in testing by commercial and hospital laboratories, state health department officials said.  Because testing is becoming more available in these labs, IDPH officials said they will prioritize testing for the most vulnerable populations, such as those who work or live in nursing homes and other congregate facilities.  Once a case in these locations is confirmed, per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  guidance, testing of all residents and staff without symptoms is not recommended.  However, all precautions to prevent additional spread should be taken and staff and residents should be closely monitored for respiratory illness.

But the growing number of cases also reflects a rapid spread of disease across communities.  While these numbers are concerning, officials said, it's not unexpected and the more robust information will allow the department to better understand and track the size and scope of the outbreak and strengthen prevention and response efforts.

For information more information about COVID-19, call the department's hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email dph.sick@illinois.gov.

Meanwhile, the Will County Health Department will be locking its doors during normal business hours staring Friday. In a statement released Thursday, officials said walk-in visitors and clients “will not be able to be accommodated at this time due to concerns about the spreading of Coronavirus. Will County Community Health Center (WCCHC) patients needing services are required to make an appointment, walk-ins are not being taken.”