First COVID-19 case in Fayette County

The Fayette County Health Department announced the first case of COVID-19 in the county was confirmed Friday.

Administrator Melissa Storck said in an email the department will not be releasing any other information at this time about the case.

“I understand inquiring minds want to know. However, I must protect the safety and identity of the patient,” Storck said. “I prefer to leave it up to the patient to make anything public.”

“We currently have one case, which tells me there are more,” Storck said. 

“We all must comply with the governor's stay-at-home executive order, and treat others, including ourselves, as if we have the virus,” Storck said.

She said all persons having close contact with the individual have been notified.

Storck said the symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath. IDPH recommends everyone who is sick to stay home and self-quarantine. If someone needs to be seen by a medical professional, she said they should contact their primary care physician and tell them your symptoms, and only go to the emergency room if emergency medical treatment is needed.

“Just because you show signs of COVID-19 does not mean you need to be tested,” Storck said. “Your health care provider will decide if you need a testing.”

Storck said the Illinois Department of Public Health COVID-19 testing guidelines are strict.

The IDPH posted on its website March 19 that because of COVID-19 test kit and supply constraints, the IDPH laboratories will only accept:

  • Specimens from hospitalized patients with severe acute lower respiratory illness (e.g., pneumonia) or
  • Specimens from clusters in a congregate setting that serves more vulnerable populations such as a supportive care facility, assisted living facility, group home, homeless shelter, or correctional setting.

With announcement of the first case of coronavirus, Fayette County Board Chairman Jeffery E. Beckman signed a Proclamation of Disaster in Fayette County. The proclamation activates the county's Emergency Management Agency and other federal, state, county and municipal resources to protect the health and safety of residents.

Illinois reported 465 new cases on Saturday and 13 deaths, including a state employee. Six of the deaths, including the infant, were in Cook County, which includes Chicago. The new numbers bring Illinois' total cases to 3,491, including 47 deaths, in 43 counties.

Things you can do to help prevent the spread if you are sick:

1. Stay home, except to get medical care.

2. Separate yourself from others in your home.

3. Wear a face mask.

4. Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue and discard.

5. Clean your hands often for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.

6. Avoid sharing any personal household items.

7. Clean all high-touched surfaces frequently.

For information on actions you can take, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html. For general questions about COVID-19, call the hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email dph.sick@illinois.gov.

The Fayette County Health Department can be contacted during normal business hours at 618-283-1044.

Charles Mills can be reached at charles.mills@effinghamdailynews.com or by phone at 217-347-7151 ext. 126.

Reporter/Videographer

Charles Mills is reporter and videographer for the Effingham Daily News. A 1983 graduate of Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, he worked as senior video editor for a Nashville television station. He is a native of Vandalia.

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