Health officials address county’s COVID-19 warning level status

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MACON COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — Macon County Health officials held a press conference Friday to address their recent warning level status for COVID-19.

Macon County Health Department officials said an increase in their number of positive tests per 100,000 and growing numbers of deaths contributed to them getting on the list. Additionally, they mentioned people not wearing their masks or wearing them inappropriately and not social distancing.

Officials stated that throughout the pandemic, the health department has been doing what they can to stop the spread of the virus. Those measures include an increase in testing capacity to meet the need and grown contact tracing.

While county officials are continuing to do what they can, they are asking the community to take ownership of protecting their neighbors. While they asked people to wear masks appropriately, avoid large gatherings, etc., they are also asking people to keep a few other things in mind.

Officials stated there are a lot of people that think they just have allergies when they really could have COVID-19. They are encouraged to still get tested.

During the press conference, the health department mentioned there were some people who said they did not want to get tested just yet because they did not want to be seen as an alarmist or dramatic. They did not want to be seen this way because what they thought was COVID-19 turned out to be allergies. The health department said it is not about being an alarmist, it is about protecting those around you and taking precaution.

Additionally, they asked people to either start screening themselves or continue to do so before you are around other people. Businesses are encouraged to make this available to their employees. Officials stated this will not fully eliminate risk of exposure as there are asymptomatic individuals, but it is another precaution to take.

If you tested positive or were a close contact of someone who did, the health department is asking you to immediately start isolation. Do not wait for the health department to call you. They stated the person who tested positive will often know their tests results before the health department receives their name.

When it comes to wearing a mask, you are asked to wear it over your nose. Also, just because you are wearing a mask, it does not mean you can cut out social distancing, according to the health department. They are asking for you to keep your distance and avoid large gatherings and congregate settings like long-term care facilities and schools as they can be a location for outbreaks.

The health department is continuing to work with businesses, schools and other organizations to stop the spread of COVID-19. Again, they are asking their community to do their part as well.

County metrics are updated weekly on the Illinois Department of Public Health’s website. Those are for the Sunday to Saturday of the previous week. For more information, click here.

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