BLOOMINGTON — Fewer than five people have been tested in McLean County so far for COVID-19, but there were no confirmed cases of the new strain of coronavirus as of Thursday afternoon.
"There have been less than five individuals tested in McLean County" as of Thursday, McLean County Health Department Administrator Jessica McKnight told The Pantagraph.
"We have no cases (of COVID-19) at this point," she said.
Anyone with signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and who have traveled to European Union countries or have had close contact with someone who has traveled to those countries are asked to call their health care provider before seeking medical care, McKnight said. Symptoms include fever, cough and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
Health care providers will provide direction to patients who call and are collaborating with the health department, McKnight said.
"When we know someone has been exposed, we will reach out to them so we can protect them," McKnight said.
While the health department authorizes testing for COVID-19, the health department doesn't perform the tests, she said.
"We understand that people may be concerned and want to be tested," said Cathy Coverston Anderson, health department assistant administrator. "However, testing continues to be prioritized at this time due to limited resources."
"At this time, the specimen collection is done in McLean County by health care providers and testing is done at the state public health labs for anyone that meets CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) criteria," meaning displaying symptoms and travel to countries where COVID-19 is prevalent or close contact with people who have been to those countries, McKnight said. "Specimen collection by the provider is only done at this time after the provider has been authorized by local public health."
"We are actively monitoring any individuals we are aware of that are at high risk for exposure to COVID-19," McKnight said. "We are encouraging anyone that has traveled recently (to countries where coronavirus is prevalent) to reach out to their local health department for more information on self-quarantining, symptoms and what to do if they develop symptoms."
Eventually, commercial labs may have the capacity to test specimens for COVID-19, she said.
As of Thursday afternoon, 25 people in Illinois have had confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Melissa Graven, health department communicable disease supervisor, said "If your health care provider or local health department advises you to self-quarantine or self-isolate, it is imperative that you follow that direction...to limit the spread of infection, especially to those who are at the highest risk of serious illness."
Contact Paul Swiech at 309-820-3275. Follow him on Twitter: @pg_swiech.
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