Kankakee County Health Department Administrator John Bevis joined WKAN earlier this morning to discuss the threat COVID-19 presents to our area. Bevis updated Kankakee County’s live count while stressing those numbers are expected to climb. Late last Friday evening, Kankakee County announced its second COVID-19 case.
“As of today we’re still officially at two, however, we have a number of tests still awaiting results to come back from the State Laboratories, and there are a few private labs that are now beginning to get some supplies and from what I’m seeing and hearing do some testing,” Bevis said. “We could begin to get back a lot more positive cases and we expect that. As of now, the message is not changing.”
Bevis stressed is critical to understand due to HIPPA rules, Health Department officials are not allowed to give out where victims stricken with COVID-19 occur in the area. “A lot of people are a little bit confused. They think they can call up for example and say “Hey, can you tell me who it is and where they’re at and where do they work” and those kinds of things. Because of HIPPA rules and regulations with medical information, unfortunately, we can’t.”
Kankakee County Health Department will reach out to anyone who they believe had close contact with positive cases, “But through the investigation of each contact, each positive, it will be determined if there is anybody that had close contact with these individuals and then their employers. The schools, which are closed at this point, anyone that had immediate contact it has to be worried about potential quarantine, those people will be reached out to. So, if we’ve not reached out to you at that point, and you’re not sick, then we’re asking you to follow the guidelines, self quarantining, staying home, if you begin to feel sick, stay home, and those types of things.” Bevis explained.
Bevis stressed the importance of not showing up to Hospitals or testing sites, but to call their local providers first. “The Healthcare providers, both hospitals, Riverside and AMITA St. Mary’s, they’re working so hard with all of this. We’re trying to address the most serious, vulnerable populations and those who legitimately are very sick and need hospital care.
That is where the priority of testing is taking place right now.”
Those who are just curious if they have it need to contact their physicians. They will advise you of what to do from there.
“Obviously if you have the fever, the cough, the shortness of breath, those are the things you want to be letting your provider know about,” Bevis said.