UPDATED 5:30 p.m. | The McLean County Health Department (MCHD) said Friday there are three new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the local total up to four.
Health Department Administrator Jessica McKnight said during a teleconference Friday the three patients include two men, one in their 40s and one in their 20s, and a female in her 70s.
Communicable disease supervisor Melissa Graven said one of the patients is in intensive care while two others are recovering at home under quarantine.
The first McLean County case—a man in his 70s, in good condition—was announced Thursday.
Graven said two of the patients recently traveled internationally and one of them had contact with another person who has COVID-19. She said health department staff has asked 20 to 30 people who the patients may have been in contact with to self-quarantine if they are experiencing any symptoms.
One of the confirmed patients has connections to Illinois Wesleyan University. However, IWU said in a statement Friday the person is not a student, faculty, or staff member, and they have not visited campus recently.
"To maintain confidentiality, MCHD was unable to provide additional information to us, but offered assurance that anyone who has had direct contact with this individual has been notified," said IWU President Georgia Nugent.
She estimated about 50 tests have been conducted for COVID-19 in McLean County so far, some of them are done by private companies. She said that has been testing data challenging, because private firms are only required to report positive tests.
“It would be incredibly helpful and we’ve asked our health care providers in the community to let us know any time they submit a test whether it’s to the Illinois Department of Public Health or to the commercial labs so we have a good idea who’s out there,” Graven said.
Graven added the swabs that health care workers use to test for COVID-19 are starting to run low.
“Based on feedback I am hearing from the community, those swabs are starting to dwindle and that providers are starting to have difficulty securing them to do the testing,” Graven said.
More cases of COVID-19 are expected as testing increases. Guidance from the Illinois Department of Health (IDPH) recommends that anyone with mild symptoms of COVID-19-like illness to remain home and only call their healthcare provider if their symptoms worsen or do not improve.
"As we continue to see new cases of COVID-19 in our community and across the state, it is important that people follow the public health guidelines on social distancing and good hygiene,” said McKnight. “If you can, please do stay home. Increasing social distancing is a key component to lessening the impact of this pandemic and preventing the kind of circumstances we are seeing in other areas.”
As Gov. JB Pritzker announced a shelter in place order that’s scheduled to take effect Saturday, Graven said she hopes that will limit the further spread of the coronavirus.
“We’re hoping that the outcome of this is it’s going to slow down the spread of the virus even more,” Graven said. “We have been asking everyone to practice social distancing and already advising for less than 10 people in a group setting.”
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