LEE COUNTY — Friday morning, Lee County Emergency Management Director Kevin Lalley and Lee County Health Department Administrator Cathy Ferguson-Allen met with local government leaders from Dixon, Lee County, Amboy, Sublette, Ashton, and Franklin Grove, along with police and fire chiefs, members of the judicial system, KSB Hospital Executives, Long-term Care representatives, community partner organizations and Representative Tom Demmer.
The purpose of the meeting was to fully educate local leaders on information, containment, and mitigation strategies surrounding COVID-19. COVID-19 is a public health crisis and has been deemed a pandemic, which means the virus has spread world-wide. The local response is being led by Administrator Ferguson and her team with consultation from local leaders.
After presentation and discussion, Lee County leaders decided to adopt Illinois Department of Public Health recommendations and join other health departments across a six-county region with the following recommendation: Businesses, institutions, and organizations suspend all public gatherings and events of 25 people or more until further notice. Leaders believed this is a responsible and measured response to this public health threat.
In response to this recommendation, local St. Patrick’s Day events in Dixon and Sublette have been cancelled.
At this time, leaders are not recommending changes to normal business, to include local shopping and dining. However, they are encouraging people over 60 years old or who have underlying health conditions to avoid gatherings and any non-essential travel. Churches and faith-based institutions are encouraged to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and are encouraged to maintain a list of those who attend each church session. This is important to tracking and potential exposure control should a case of COVID-19 be identified. Canceling services should also be considered. If a case of COVID-19 is identified in our six-county region, Ferguson-Allen said she would notify leaders and the community immediately.
In consultation with KSB leadership, if a person is experiencing symptoms of a cold or respiratory infection, they are asked to call the doctor or emergency room before coming to the hospital or doctor’s office. COVID-19 is highly contagious, so medical personnel want to limit exposure to other patients visiting the doctor for non-COVID-19 related issues. KSB Hospital is capable of conducting COVID-19 testing.
Extra precautions and procedures have been put in place to protect police and fire personnel. Lee County 911 has implemented a screening protocol for all calls for service. Police and fire personnel have been given enhanced Personal Protective Equipment to protect them from COVID-19.
The following are tips to help stop and prevent the spreading of COVID-19:
Friday afternoon, Governor Pritzker has ordered Illinois schools closed through March 30. Local officials will continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19 and make appropriate recommendations on the operations of government facilities.
Emergency Management Director Lalley is making preparations to open the joint Emergency Operations Center should the need arise. Local leaders will continue to work together to ensure the safety of Lee County residents. For more information, please visit the Lee County Health Department website and Facebook Page. For general COVID-19 information, you may call 211.