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Contact Tracing Update
GCHD has tried to keep the community informed throughout the pandemic. There are times when the community might like more information or to see specific data but with a small number of staff and continuation of other programs, we have had to maintain a balance. Overall, this department stepped up and stood during the most difficult of circumstances that were before them. It is our role to help provide resources, reliable information, focus efforts on the prevention of illness, and prepare for emergencies. We are very proud of our staff’s efforts and the community partnerships we have gained during the pandemic. We will continue to serve this community in prevention efforts but at this time it has now become your individual responsibility to ensure public safety.
Case numbers and active cases are as high as they have ever been. Greene County remains at 37% fully vaccinated. County Health Departments do not have enough staff to address all calls that will be coming in from the community. Right now, county health departments and hospitals are overwhelmed. IDPH determined that centralizing contact tracing may help address the high volume of cases for all health departments.
There is some personal responsibility that comes with being a productive society. At this time, you should be sharing your information regarding your symptoms, positive tests, or exposure with your worksite, family, friends, and others that you care about following gathering or before gathering. Although we have helped guide the community through recommendations and best practices, individuals now should generally know what to do and when to do it. We will continue to provide links on Facebook and our website with information that will help guide actions that are needed. We will be sharing the most updated recommendation on upcoming posts. This information will continue to change so please ensure you are following the most up-to-date recommendations. The vaccine is readily available to help reduce severe illness and death. It is up to you. You should protect yourself. We will continue to provide all immunizations.
As of December 28th, all COVID-19 cases have received an auto message informing them of quarantine/isolation information. As of January 13th, all cases will be sent to the Illinois Department of Public Health Surge Center to help automate the information provided so individuals have quick access to the information. Other states have used this process previously to help reduce call volumes for the local health departments. Moving forward if you need letters for release from work you will need to request them from this system. If you don’t participate in the assessments offered, it will not generate release letters. GCHD cannot issue release letters as they will be part of the centralized contact tracing efforts. Surge Center will be taking over all calls, but if you don’t get a call, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to isolate or quarantine. If there is no call, you still have the ability to identify what to do so please follow recommendations to protect yourself and others. It is important for our healthcare workers that you choose to stay at home. Those utilizing home tests should also be aware of precautions to take and should be taking them. You do have the tools to prevent severe illness which include vaccination, boosters, masking, social distancing, handwashing, and disinfection.
We wanted to share this public message as we will have a more limited role in contact tracing going forward. Not because it isn’t important but because it is now up to you as a people to choose to take care of yourself and others. We will continue to address calls and concerns that come in but the Surge Center employees are not our employees. Please understand that our staff will continue to do all that we can to represent Greene County and to address your calls and concerns as we hear from you. We do DEEPLY care for this community as you ALL are our family and friends.
The Illinois Department of Public Health, local health departments, and public health partners throughout Illinois, and federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are responding to an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus called COVID-19 that was first identified in December 2019 during an outbreak in Wuhan, China. COVID-19 has spread throughout the world, including the United States, since it was detected and was declared a public health emergency for the U.S. on January 31, 2020 to aid the nation’s health care community in responding to the threat. The World Health Organization announced March 11, 2020 that the spread of coronavirus qualifies as a global pandemic.
In addition, Gov. JB Pritzker issued a disaster proclamation March 9, 2020 regarding COVID-19 that gives the state access to federal and state resources to combat the spread of this newly emerged virus.
The first case of COVID-19 in the United States was reported January 21, 2020 and the first confirmed case in Illinois was announced January 24, 2020 (a Chicago resident). The first cases outside Chicago and Cook County were reported March 11, 2020 in Kane and McHenry counties. The current count of cases of COVID-19 in the United States is available on the CDC webpage located here.. Illinois case totals and test results are listed here.
Person-to-person spread of COVID-19 appears to be mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It also may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Preliminary data suggest older adults and people with underlying health conditions or compromised immune systems seems to be at greater risk of developing serious illness from the virus.
If you are sick and have respiratory symptoms, such as fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, new loss of taste or smell, fatigue, and muscle or body aches, stay home and call your medical provider. Keep in mind there is limited treatment options for COVID-19 and people who are mildly ill can isolate at home. While at home, as much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people. Those who need medical attention should contact their health care provider who will evaluate whether they can be cared for at home or need to be hospitalized.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people, and others that circulate among animals, including camels, cats, and bats. Rarely animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people and then spread between people.
Human coronaviruses are common throughout the world and commonly cause mild to moderate illness in people worldwide. However, the emergence of novel (new) coronaviruses, such as SARS and MERS, have been associated with more severe respiratory illness.
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
When to seek emergency medical attention
If someone is showing any of these signs, seek medical care immediately:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:
- the air by coughing and sneezing
- close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
- touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands
The following can help prevent the spread of coronaviruses and protect yourself from becoming infected.
- Get fully vaccinated
- Wear a mask – cover your mouth and nose with a mask when in indoor and crowded outdoor public settings
- Keep physically distanced from those outside your household or not fully vaccinated
- Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces
- Stay home if you are sick
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
In the United States, there are currently three vaccines authorized and recommended to prevent COVID-19 – Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a one-dose series at this time, while the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines both require two shots given 3-4 weeks apart to get the most protection. Studies have found that all COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States provide protection against COVID-19.
School K-12 Guidance
- License Daycare Guidance
- License-Exempt School Age Guidance