Will County Health Department reports 74 new Coronavirus cases
By Rex Robinson | 9/16/2020, 6 a.m.
The Will County Health Department on Thursday reported 13,158 Coronavirus cases, an increase of 74 from Wednesday, while reported deaths from the virus increased by one to 371.
The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 268,207 statewide Coronavirus cases on Thursday an increase of 2,056 from Wednesday, and 8,392 deaths, an increase of 25 during the same time frame. More than 4.92 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.
More information about coronavirus cases in Illinois and Will County is at https://coronavirus.illinois.gov/.