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Tazewell County reports first coronavirus case; McLean County remains at eight cases, plans for more
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Tazewell County reports first coronavirus case; McLean County remains at eight cases, plans for more

BLOOMINGTON — Tazewell County has its first case of the novel strain of coronavirus as COVID-19 continues its spread in Central Illinois.

The Tazewell County Health Department reported Wednesday afternoon that a man in his 70s had tested positive for COVID-19 and was hospitalized. Health department Communications Manager Sara Sparkman said she didn't know the man's condition.

Meanwhile, the McLean County Health Department reported that the number of people with confirmed cases of COVID-19 remained at eight for the second straight day.

The Tazewell County man's exposure was not related to travel, and the health department had not determined his contact with anyone already diagnosed with COVID-19.

The agency was investigating any individuals who may have been in close contact with the man who tested positive.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced on Wednesday 330 new cases of the novel strain of coronavirus and three additional deaths, one each in Kane, Cook and Will counties.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 1,865 cases of the virus have been reported statewide in 35 counties, including McLean, Tazewell, Woodford (three cases), Livingston (one), LaSalle (three), Marshall (one), Champaign (one), Peoria (four), Sangamon (five), Christian (one), Morgan (one), Douglas (one) and Cumberland (one).

An IDPH map indicated a case in Logan County but Logan County Public Health Administrator Don Cavi said there are no confirmed cases there.

Nineteen people in Illinois have died of COVID-19, including a McLean County woman in her 70s who died late last week.

In McLean County as of Wednesday, 71 people had tested negative for COVID-19 and results were pending on 34.

Asked whether no new cases in McLean County for a second straight day meant the virus was abating in the county, health department communicable disease supervisor Melissa Graven said "It's absolutely too soon to say."

She said the supply for tests is not meeting the demand locally and nationally.

Of the eight McLean County cases, one person died, three people are in hospitals (one in an intensive care unit) and four people are recovering at home in isolation, she said.

"Advocate BroMenn (Medical Center in Normal) is caring for two patients who have tested positive for COVID-19, one in good condition and one in critical condition," Public Affairs Coordinator Lynn Hutley said.

OSF HealthCare St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington is caring for one patient with COVID-19 and that patient is in fair condition, said Media Relations Coordinator Libby Allison.

For four of the McLean County cases, the health department is still trying to determine where they were exposed to COVID-19, Graven said.

Graven said it was too soon to say whether it would be safe for people to worship together in public on Easter.

Health department Administrator Jessica McKnight and Emergency Preparedness Coordinator David Hopper said discussions are underway for a regional drive-through testing site for first responders and health care professionals and for a facility that could be used to care for patients if hospitals are full.

While most people with COVID-19 experience mild or moderate symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat and shortness of breath) for two weeks, the virus can cause more severe illness among older adults and people with existing health problems.

Anyone who develops symptoms should stay home and contact their health care provider if their symptoms worsen. While there is no treatment specifically for COVID-19, most people recover at home in isolation.

To reduce the spread of COVID-19, health department are asking people to stay home as much as possible, maintain a 6-foot distance from other people, wash hands frequently, cover coughs and sneezes and sterilize frequently used surfaces.

Contact Paul Swiech at 309-820-3275. Follow him on Twitter: @pg_swiech.


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