(article updated Friday, April 3)
An Effingham man is under home quarantine after testing positive for the Coronavirus Disease, Effingham County Health Department confirmed late Wednesday.
The individual in his 40’s was reported to be doing well at his home in isolation. This is the first laboratory confirmed positive test of COVID-19 in Effingham County. The man is thought to have been exposed to a person with the novel coronavirus. This individual is not allowed to leave home until well and can no longer transmit the disease. Public health officials will not be releasing more specific details about this individual due to privacy issues.
Health officials are investigating this case and will be speaking with individuals who he may have come into contact with the infected man before this diagnosis. Through this investigation, public health may place other individuals on home quarantine if they are determined to have had significant exposure. Such individuals may not have symptoms, but are quarantined for a period of time which allows symptoms to develop and pass without posing risk to others. If you are contacted by public health officials, please respond promptly.
On Thursday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 7,695 coronavirus cases across the state, amounting to an increase of 715 in 24 hours. There were 157 deaths, totaling 16 more in one day. The number of Illinois deaths have more than doubled from the total of 65 reported on March 29. The number of cases on that date was 4,596.
The disease has now spread to 61 counties in Illinois, from counties bordering the Wisconsin border to Massac County on the southern tip along the Ohio River. Most of the cases and deaths are in Chicago and Cook County.
The age groups infected the most in Illinois as of this week are persons 40 to 59 years old, based on IDPH statistics. Yet the virus has infected infants and residents in their nineties, as well as a 100-year-old. Infections of men and women are about even so far.
Health officials expect more cases to be confirmed locally as the virus continues to spread. The number of cases can be reduced by practicing social distancing, washing hands frequently, disinfecting commonly touched surfaces, and following Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s order to shelter in place.
COVID-19 shares many symptoms with more common respiratory diseases: a fever, cough or difficulty breathing. If you have these symptoms call your doctor or health care provider for further guidance. In addition, the Illinois Department of Public Health has established a 24-hour COVID-19 hotline at 1-800-889-3931. Clinicians there will answer questions, assess each caller and advise on the next steps for evaluation or potential testing.
The public is asked to follow and share trusted sources of information on COVID-19. The spread of incorrect information during disease outbreaks can lead people to take actions which may not be beneficial to their own health or the health of others. Follow the CDC, IDPH and ECHD websites and social media accounts for such trusted information.