SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA)– Area college students may be a new group of concern for health leaders.
In Springfield, people are specifically troubled by one point of contact.
The Sangamon County Department of Public Health was shocked to see hundreds out waiting for free COVID-19 testing Monday morning.
“This is the busiest we’ve seen the testing sites, so it’s quite a long line here. It’s a surprise,” said county health director Gail O’Neill.
“Fortunately, we had a testing site starting up today. So we are glad they were here and ready to take care of the customers that we have.”
The hundreds that showed up for testing may be linked back to one spot. Scott Weitekamp, the owner of Crows Mill Pub in Springfield, encouraged guests to get tested after a staff member found out she tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday.
He says that team member only worked Thursday night but that just so happens to be college night at Crows Mill.
He believes she may have come in contact with more than 200 students.
The health department says this influx may be the first of many lines we see as more places reopen.
“We’ve heard that there are crowds of people out and about, so this is kind of the first wave of identification of a person that was infected in place with a pretty good size crowd. I don’t if masks were being worn, I’m not sure of that but it sure helps people realize that there is a reason for testing,” O’Neill said.
Weitkekamp says masks were worn and he had six sanitation stations being utilized but experts saying staying apart is key.
“I think more closeness is the concern at this point, social distancing. We know the mask are- they are something. They’re not perfect, none of this is perfect, but we just have to make decisions that are the best we can make at the time,” O’Neill said.
Weitkekamp said he is getting backlash for going public with the news about his employee from people thinking this is a publicity stunt.
He wants people to know that going public with this news is causing him to lose business and he only wants to keep everyone safe.