Shutdowns Continue After First State Death

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The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced on Tuesday, March 17, the first death of an Illinois resident who tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19). 

The individual was a Chicago resident in her 60s who tested positive earlier this month and had contact with a known COVID-19 case.

As of Tuesday, Illinois had 160 confirmed cases, one death, and had tested 1,500 people.  The closest confirmed case is in Sangamon County.

On Monday, the city of Hillsboro shut down parks and all city buildings except city hall until Monday, April 6. Litchfield also closed all city buildings to the general public and vendors until further notice on Monday, and Montgomery County closed the Montgomery County Historic Courthouse, Annex Building, Regional Office of Education, Veteran’s Assistance Commission, Highway  Department and Animal Control, and reduced the hours of the Montgomery County Courthouse from 8 a.m. until noon until March 30.

“If you are notified that you may have been exposed to someone who has been infected with the Coronavirus, please notify your primary care physician who in turn will work with the county health department,” according to Christian-Montgomery County Emergency Management Agency Director Greg Nimmo. “If you do not have a primary care physician, you should call the County Health Department.”

“This virus has many of the same symptoms as the flu,” Montgomery County Health Department Administrator Hugh Satterlee said. “These symptoms include coughing, sneezing, a fever and potential chest discomfort or trouble breathing. If you have any of these symptoms, you should stay at home and call your personal care physician.”

“The closing of schools, and the guidance on mass gatherings has been implemented to help stop the spread of the virus,” Nimmo said. “Residents should be sensible and not attend public gatherings if they have any flu-like symptoms. The secret to managing this virus is not infecting others and taking care of yourself.”

On Monday, Gov. JB Pritzker signed an executive order closing all restaurants and bars for on-site consumption, prohibited all public and private gatherings in the state of 50 people or more (down from 1,000), and suspended the one-week waiting period for unemployment claims.

Although Litchfield city buildings are closed to the public, offices will continue to operate and be available by phone at 217-324-2022.  Water bills may be paid using the drop box at city hall, and access to the police department and fire department is restricted to the lobbies.

In addition to city buildings except city hall, Hillsboro has closed all parks.

“This closure includes the Pawsboro 620K9 dog park, the Hillsboro Sports Complex, Sherwood Forest Campground, Challacombe House and Fireman’s Clubhouse,” according to Commissioner of Streets and Public Safety Daniel Robbins.

“We want everyone to practice self-restraint and compassion for their neighbors during this time,” Commissioner of Public Health and Safety Michael Murphy said.  “Please avoid public spaces, wash your hands, practice social distancing, and please do not ‘panic buy’ items from area supermarkets, convenience stores, and area pharmacies.”

Montgomery County Offices that are closed will be available by telephone and operate on reduced staff.  In addition to the courthouse operating from 8 a.m. until noon, limited staff will be available from noon until 4 p.m. to address emergency court matters.  Contact the Montgomery County Circuit Clerk’s office at 217-532-9595 to arrange court access.

The Montgomery County Sheriff has suspended all visitation of jail detainees, and the circuit clerk’s office has suspended all passport processing.

Further guidance will be forthcoming from the Montgomery County Health Department. Visit montgomeryco.com/health.

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