Local health officials announced today that two area individuals have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. “We continue to gather details from these individuals to understand their exposure better and who they may have been in contact with,” said David Remmert, Administrator for the DeWitt/Piatt BiCounty Health Department.

The first case is a 52-year old female from DeWitt County. This individual began exhibiting symptoms on March 23, prompting her to seek care. She was tested on March 30. It is believed that she may have been exposed through a household member. This household member attended a conference in Chicago and was informed by conference officials that attendees were exposed to a confirmed case at the conference. Upon notification, all members of the household quarantined themselves and monitored their symptoms. This confirmed case had been in contact with local health department officials prior to testing and encouraged to isolate at home.

The second case is a 22-year old female from Piatt County. This individual is a health-care worker who worked with COVID-19 patients located in Champaign. She developed a fever on March 28 and was tested on March 30 in a drive thru testing event held in McLean County. She did not return to work after symptoms began. This individual and another household member have been in isolation since symptoms began.

Health Department officials now will begin a process of contact tracing to identify anyone who may have come into contact with these confirmed cases so that those contacts can quarantine themselves and reduce the risk of spread to others.

The Health Department continues to urge residents to take precautions. “We have to continue down the course we started and practice those 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 to reduce spraying droplets into the air

• Clean and disinfect surfaces frequently

• Practice social distancing, and

• Follow the order to stay home.

“We all need to presume it’s here now and throughout 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.” Testing at this time is only recommended in our area for symptomatic individuals. If you are having symptoms, please contact your health provider.

On Tuesday, April 1, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced 986 new cases of the disease and 42 additional deaths bringing statewide totals to 6980 cases and 141 deaths. Remmert added, “just a week ago, on March 25, it was announced that Illinois had a total of 1865 cases and 19 deaths.”

For any COVID-19 related questions, email the Health Department at DPHDCovid19@gmail.com.