LEE COUNTY — The Lee County COVID-19 new case rate has been climbing over the last several weeks; to the extent that the county will be placed on the state’s warning list next week. Cases and outbreaks have been seen across the community; there isn’t one segment to pinpoint. Lee County Health Department (LCHD) is currently working on cases from schools, restaurants, office worksites, an assisted living facility, etc.
The Lee County Unified Executive Leadership Team (LCHD, Lee County Emergency Management, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Lee County State’s Attorney’s Office, KSB Hospital, and City of Dixon) wants residents to know it is too early to forgo mitigation measures. The team speculates that hearing the hopefulness at the state and national level of opening up even further in the near future, coupled with the fact that vaccination is ongoing, has led people to feel safer resuming normal activities. The fact is, that due to limited vaccine supply to date, only a small percentage of most county’s populations are fully vaccinated. Supply is expected to pick up soon, but in the meantime, they ask residents to be mindful that COVID-19 is still very much present in our area and we need to continue with masking, distancing, avoiding large gatherings, etc.
According to Cathy Ferguson-Allen, LCHD Administrator, “We’ve recently had some quite ill individuals that have had to be hospitalized. We’re seeing increased case severity, even in younger age groups. We will likely soon be announcing a few additional resident deaths once confirmed with IDPH. These trends are troubling.”
“Over the past year, LCHD has seen just how contagious this virus is. Some individuals have been infected more than once; some are dealing with long-term effects," Ferguson-Allen said.
“In addition to ongoing mitigation measures, please answer the call if a contact tracer reaches out to you. Contact tracing is of utmost importance right now as we try to contain the current spread. If you are experiencing COVID-like symptoms or have been a close contact of someone who has tested positive, get tested and stay home until results are received. If you receive positive results, continue to stay home and give LCHD at least 48 hours to contact you before calling to inquire. Case volume is currently high, and it can also take some time for labs to report positive cases to us.”
With spring break and Easter approaching, the team cautions residents that travel is still considered risky. If you do travel, please mask, distance and avoid large groups.
“We completely understand how anxious people are to get on with life; we are too," Ferguson-Allen said. "But if we continue regressing, we will only extend the length of time until we can do that.”