EFFINGHAM, Ill. (WCIA) — A commercial bus bound for Texas made a pit stop in Effingham last week after a man collapsed, died and later tested positive for COVID-19.
Pedro Quiroz, a 77-year-old from Houston, died on October 13 while onboard a bus bound for McAllen, Texas. Effingham County coroner Kim Rhodes said she a test taken that day from Mr. Quiroz’s body returned a positive result for COVID-19.
Mr. Quiroz had been working in Wisconsin since May, Rhodes said, and had co-morbidities that exacerbate the effects of coronavirus, including high blood pressure and diabetes.
A person sitting next to Mr. Quiroz also tested positive for the coronavirus and was subsequently hospitalized in Effingham.
Health officials, including the Illinois Department of Public Health and federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, notified authorities in Hidalgo County, Texas, of the situation on October 14.
According to a press release from that county, Illinois health officials said first responders told them that “several other passengers on the bus had been exposed” to COVID-19 because of their proximity to Mr. Quiroz and the seatmate.
The bus, whose owner and driver have not been identified by Hidalgo County officials, drove to south Texas and arrived at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday night.
While some passengers did agree to isolate themselves, the county still issued isolation orders, but allowed “asyomptomatic passengers” to continue traveling.
County officials did not disclose how many people were exposed to the coronavirus, how many passengers were onboard, how many agreed to self-isolate, nor how many were allowed to “continue their travels.”
Effingham County Health Administrator Jeff Workman said it’s unclear whether or not the seatmate’s status as being hospitalized due to COVID-19 has been included it the county’s overall number of such hospitalizations.