2 COVID-19 Tests Pending in Peoria County
There currently aren't any known cases of COVID-19 in Peoria County. But officials say it's a matter of when, not if.Dr. Samer Sader is executive medical director of acute care service for UnityPoint's area hospitals. He said the goal is to control the outbreak through good hygiene measures and mass gathering cancellations to keep it from overwhelming the healthcare system.
"We believe that we will have cases, and if we reduce the spread, how fast it spreads, because if it spreads like wildfire, it will create those really high peak numbers. So that's the goal of all those manuevers," he said.
Samer said slowing the spread will reduce mortality numbers.
Peoria City/County Health Department Administrator Monica Hendrickson said the best preventative measures for healthy people include basic best practices to avoid spreading the virus to vulnerable populations.
"For most people, we don't have a vaccine, and we don't have medication. It's going to be self-care at home with fever-reducing medication, rest, and fluids," she said.
Sader recommended canceling large gatherings and staying home if you feel sick. Gov. J.B. Pritzker ordered all large-scale events over 1,000 people canceled for the next 30 days.
Four people total from Peoria County have been tested for COVID-19 so far. Of those, two tested negative, and another two tests are still pending.
Peoria City/County Health Department Administrator Monica Hendrickson said people should go through their primary healthcare provider to access testing. If they don't have one, she recommended contacting Heartland Health Services.
Hendrickson said while there aren't enough COVID-19 tests for everyone who requests one, healthcare providers have a set of criteria they are following to determine who needs one.
Health department medical director Dr. Gregg Stoner said physicians look at travel histories and for symptoms like high fevers, shortness of breath, and a cough to determine if a patient needs a test. He said doctors also test to rule out illnesses which can present similar symptoms, like influenza.
There are between 10 to 15 people in self-quarantine from day-to-day, Hendrickson said. Officials recommend 14 days of self-quarantine after returning from a country with a widespread COVID-19 outbreak, such as Italy or Iran.
Stoner said the Centers for Disease Control are providing guidance on school closures, visitor restrictions, and event cancellations.
The Peoria City/County Health Department announced Thursday it will begin daily COVID-19 briefings on weekdays to provide updates to the public.
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