Health department officials have announced the first COVID-19 case in a DeWitt County resident, although the 20-year-old male was tested at the University of Missouri and has been isolated at his campus apartment.

"It is a 20-year-old male listing his home address as DeWitt County, but is a student at Mizzou who was tested and confirmed there, and isolated at his campus apartment," said David Remmert, Administrator for the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department.

"Although we are still trying to get more information, we are reporting our first case of COVID-19 in a resident within our service area," added Remmert. "This individual is a DeWitt County resident, age 20, whose specimens were collected through a lab affiliated with the University of Missouri, where he currently resides. We are working now at collecting other information on the case.”

Health officials continue to urge residents to take precautions.

On Friday, Remmert announced that 16 people had been tested for COVID-19 in DeWitt County. Fourteen tests had returned negative and two were pending. 

In Piatt County, the number is 14 tested, 11 negative and three pending.

“We have to continue down the course we started and practice those 5 precautionary measures. These remain our best practices at reducing the spread of this illness,” Remmert said. These basic precautions include:

• Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently,

• Don’t touch your face,

• Cough and sneeze into an elbow,

• Practice social distancing, and

• If you have any symptoms or any contact with infected others, stay home

“We all need to presume it’s here now and in our communities. Not everyone will get tested because many show no or very mild symptoms,” Remmert added. "Social distancing is critical because without symptoms, those who unknowingly have the disease can transmit to others who are especially at risk, the elderly and the immunocompromised.”

Remmert said testing at this time is only recommended in the DeWitt and Piatt County areas for hospitalized individuals with expanded testing now becoming available in certain areas for those showing symptoms.

On Friday, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced 488 new cases of the disease and 8 additional deaths, bringing statewide totals to 3,026 cases and 34 deaths.