WATSEKA — A man in his 50s is the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Iroquois County.
Dee Ann Schippert, Iroquois County Public Health Department administrator, made that announcement in a press conference Thursday afternoon at the county administrative center.
The man was tested March 23 by a medical provider.
“Laboratory-confirmed results were received today,” Schippert said.
“The individual is at his home, is doing well and is cooperating with public health officials. He will remain in isolation per Illinois Department of Public Health guidance until he is released by the Iroquois County Public Health Department. At this time we are not releasing an additional details on the individual. We are expecting his privacy.
Schippert said public health officials are evaluating exposures and will notify those we determine to be at risk of exposure. Guidance and recommendations regarding patients under investigation may evolve as more is learned.
“It is important to remember that even though there is a confirmed case, this is not cause for panic,” she said.
“We strongly recommend to continue social-distancing and other social measures, which include staying home as much as possible with adherence to the governor’s shelter-at-home requirement. If gatherings are absolutely necessary, limit the number of people to 10 or less. Call to check on family, neighbors and older adults instead of visiting them. Check with your provider about telehealth options if you feel ill.
“Remember to continue to using proper hand hygiene. We’ve said this over and over, wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands,” Schippert said.
“Avoid the emergency department and other places you seek healthcare if you are not severely ill. Unless your doctor advises otherwise, if you can manage your symptoms at home we recommend you do that. Staying home keeps healthcare access available for others with more severe illness.”
Dr. Phil Zumwalt, the health department medical director, said, “We recommend consulting with your doctor if you have the following symptoms: developing significant fever, cough, shortness of breath, other cold or flu-like symptoms and do not feel better or feel worse after three or four days. It is better to use a telephone, text or telemedicine or patient portal to reach out rather than going to your doctor in person if possible.”
“If you are an older adult or have chronic health conditions of concern, such as heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, significant smoking history and other mild symptoms, your provider will decide if you need medical care at that point. Usually you do not need to be tested unless you are admitted to the hospital,” Zumwalt said.