WILL COUNTY – Across the State of Illinois, the IDPH (Illinois Department of Public Health) is reporting a recovery rate of 96 percent for individuals contracting COVID-19, even with the state also reporting a record number of tests being performed and more positive cases. Meanwhile, Will County is also seeing a higher compliance among residents for wearing masks and social distancing.
“The best news for local businesses in Region 7 (Will and Kankakee Counties) was the lifting of the ban on indoor service for bars and restaurants,’ said County Executive Denise Winfrey. “I applaud Sue Olenek, executive director of the health department, and her staff for their continued dedication to managing this pandemic and keeping our residents safe and informed.”
Last week, Region 7 moved back into Phase IV, which allowed for restaurants and bars to offer indoor service while observing social distancing and no longer having to close at 11:00 p.m. In addition, meetings and gatherings are now limited to 50 people or 50 percent capacity (whichever is less), rather than the 25 people or 25 percent required during mitigations.
While the mitigations were in effect, Region 7’s positivity rate went from well over 8 % when they were announced in late August, to 5.7 % last week when the mitigations were dropped. The Illinois Department of Public Health reports more than five million COVID-19 tests have been performed across the state.
“This testing has been effective in helping us manage this crisis,” Olenek said. “We have created a Contact Tracing Department with 39 tracers who are dedicated to determining how and when cases are spread. This is very important to educating the public on how to protect themselves. We have also created a Congregate Setting Manager position who is helping us control the spread of this virus in vulnerable populations such as nursing homes or retirement home residents.”
In addition, the Environmental Health Division of the Health Department is working with local businesses to educate them on the importance of following the three W’s – Wearing a face covering, Watching your distance (maintain six feet distance in public), and Washing your hands. The division responds to numerous complaints from the public about noncompliance.
“We have not issued any fines for noncompliant businesses, but we do educate them and provide resources,” said Olenek. “It is up to all of us to continue to follow the guidelines from the CDC (Center for Disease Control) to keep ourselves safe and maintain our daily lives as normal as possible.”
For more information about the COVID-19 crisis including symptoms, testing sites, school and workplace guidance, visit the Illinois Department of Public Health website at www.dph.illinois.gov/covid19.