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Lake County reports 20 new cases of COVID-19; total hits 135

WAUKEGAN -- The Lake County Health Department is reporting 20 new cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Lake County since Tuesday afternoon.

This brings the total number of Lake County residents testing positive for the disease to 135 since the first Lake County case was identified on March 11 (numbers are as of 1 p.m. March 25).  

Multiple cases have been identified at two long-term care facilities in Lake County -- three staff at a long-term care facility in Lincolnshire and three residents of a long-term care facility in Lake Zurich have tested positive for COVID-19. 

“Protecting our most vulnerable residents is something we take very seriously, and our Communicable Disease team is working closely with these facilities to monitor the health of staff and residents who may have been exposed to COVID-19,” said Mark Pfister, executive director of the Lake County Health Department. “In addition to restricting outside visitors to the facilities, appropriate infection control measures are being taken, including checking the temperatures and symptoms of all staff and residents twice per shift. If a resident shows symptoms, they are appropriately isolated, and extra precautions are taken."

Older adults, people living in congregate settings like long-term care facilities, and people with certain chronic health conditions are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. All residents are reminded to follow the governor’s ‘stay-at-home’ order to help protect our communities.   

The Lake County Health Department launched an interactive map of COVID-19 cases in Lake County, broken down by municipality. It can be viewed at www.lakecountyil.gov/coronavirus

Preventive measures

It is critically important that the community follow prescribed preventive measures such as social distancing and the 3 C's to avoid getting sick: 

• Clean hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. 

• Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or your elbow. 

• Contain illness by staying home if you are sick. 

Social distancing 

• Stay home as much as possible. 

• Call to check on family, neighbors, and older adults instead of visiting. 

• Check with your health care provider about telehealth options. 

What to do if you are sick 

If you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, stay home and call your doctor. Distance yourself from others in the household and, if possible, stay in your own bedroom and use your own bathroom. Seek medical care right away if your illness is worsening (for example if you have difficulty breathing).   

Do not walk into a health care facility, urgent care clinic, or hospital before calling. Discuss your symptoms with your doctor. If your doctor believes that you need to be tested for COVID-19, your doctor should refer you to a COVID-19 testing site. The Lake County Health Department should be contacted only to facilitate testing through the state lab for patients who are hospitalized or those who live or work in congregate settings (schools, long-term care facilities, group homes). 

Residents who do not have a primary care provider can contact the Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center at 847-377-8800 to schedule an appointment. 

Testing availability 

Testing is being prioritized for people with symptoms who have high risk of complications. These include older adults living in congregate settings and those with chronic health conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes, and those with weakened immune systems. People who do not show any symptoms do not need to get tested. 

The Public Health Emergency Operations Center is working to collect information on the availability of testing in Lake County and will provide updates at www.lakecountyil.gov/coronavirus

Additional resources 

Visit www.lakecountyil.gov/coronavirus for updates on COVID-19 in Lake County, guidance on preventing the spread of COVID-19, and to sign up for the Lake County Health Department’s COVID-19 email newsletter. 

The Health Department has established an email address, COVID19@lakecountyil.gov, to answer questions from the community. Residents can submit an email with COVID-19 questions, and public health officials will answer the top questions weekly. The Health Department will not use this service to offer medical advice or answer questions related to people who test positive for COVID-19. If you have personal medical questions, contact your health care provider. 

For a list of government closures, visit www.lakecountyil.gov/closures 

An additional resource if you need assistance is https://www.lakecountyil.gov/GetHelp 

If you need assistance finding food or shelter, or need rent or utility assistance, or other essential services, CALL 211 or TEXT your ZIP code to 898211 to speak with someone who can help 24/7. For more information, visit https://211lakecounty.org/

For state and national information, call the Illinois State Hotline at 1-800-899-3931, or visit the Illinois Department of Public Health website at dph.illinois.gov, or the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at coronavirus.gov

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