Lake County Health Department Updates Guidance to Minimize Community Spread of Coronavirus in Lake County, Illinois

The Lake County Health Department is reporting six new cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Lake County, including new evidence of community transmission not related to travel or close contact with a person known to have COVID-19. Since March 11, 2020, a total of 14 Lake County residents have tested positive for the disease. Public health officials continue to urge all residents to take precautions to stay healthy and stop the spread of the virus.

“Our Public Health Emergency Operations Center (PHEOC) has been preparing for the spread of the novel coronavirus in our community for several weeks, and while we fully expect our number of cases to climb, we remind our residents to remain calm, practice good hygiene and social distancing, and stay home if you are sick.”

— Lisa Kritz, Director of Prevention for the Lake County Health Department

A recent study published by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows that over 80 percent of people who become ill with COVID-19 have mild illness. Due to limited testing for the virus, people who do not have symptoms or only have mild symptoms are not recommended to get tested at this time.

“We are asking residents with only mild symptoms to stay home, distance yourself from others in the household, if possible, by staying in a separate bedroom and bathroom, and contact your doctor if your symptoms worsen. We are prioritizing testing for symptomatic people who have high risk of complications—older adults living in congregate settings and those with chronic health conditions like heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes, and those with weakened immune systems.”

— Dr. Sana Ahmed, Medical Epidemiologist at the Lake County Health Department

The PHEOC staff is working to collect information on the availability of testing in Lake County and will provide updates on the Lake County website, www.lakecountyil.gov/coronavirus as information becomes available.

In accordance with State of Illinois guidance, new recommendations for reducing the spread of COVID-19 include:

Lake County Community Events

Beginning Wednesday, March 18, 2020, all community events with 50 or more people in attendance should be cancelled or postponed through the duration of the Illinois Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation.

For gatherings of any size, residents should closely consider who is likely to attend the event and, if it includes vulnerable populations (e.g., elderly), strongly consider canceling.

This includes community, civic, public leisure, faith-based events, sporting events with spectators, concerts, conventions, and any similar event or activity that brings together 50 or more people in a single space.

This includes fitness centers/health clubs, bowling alleys, private clubs, and theatres.

This does not include venues that provide essential goods or services such as grocery stores, hospitals, pharmacies, gas stations, banks/credit unions, and shelters.

Nursing Home Facilities

Restrict all visitation except for certain compassionate care situations, such as end of life residents.

Restrict all volunteers and non-essential health care personnel (e.g., barbers).

Cancel all group activities and communal dining.

Implement active screening of residents and healthcare personnel for fever and respiratory symptoms.

Additional guidance for long-term care facilities is on the Illinois Department of Public Health website.

These new recommendations supplement those issued by the Health Department on March 13, 2020. If recommendations change, the Health Department will notify the public immediately.

Visit www.lakecountyil.gov/coronavirus for updates on COVID-19 in Lake County and to sign up for the Lake County Health Department’s COVID-19 email newsletter.

Utilize the Illinois Department of Public Health COVID-19 hotline and website to have any questions answered or to report a suspected case. Call 1-800-889-3931, email [email protected], or visit IDPH.illinois.gov.

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