By Dee Longfellow

For The Independent

News updates about the COVID-19 Coronavirus have been changing almost hourly, making your weekly newspaper behind the times before the presses even stop rolling.

What started as a mild threat heard on the news has now escalated to what could well be an illness that threatens the entire globe.  Amid conspiracy theories of many levels to assertions that “it’s not that bad” to full-blown lockdowns of school districts, college and universities, government agencies and, by order of Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker, all bars and restaurants.

At press time, the most recent developments included: 1. A resident of DuPage DuPage County tested positive for the COVID-19 Coronavirus; 2. County Board Chairman Dan Cronin supports Governor’s emergency declaration; 3. The governor calls for closing bars and restaurants throughout the state for two weeks.

DuPage County resident tests positive for coronavirus disease

On Saturday, March 14, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Governor JB Pritzker announced that a resident of DuPage County had tested positive at the IDPH Laboratory for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The resident is a female in her 60s and was in stable condition at the latest reports. No other information about the woman was released.

State and local public health officials have started an investigation to learn who may have had contact with the woman prior to the diagnosis.

“Our staff is working to quickly identify, interview and learn the risk for people who may have been in close contact with the first COVID-19 case in DuPage County,” said Karen Ayala, executive director, DuPage County Health Department. “Our highest priority is the health and safety of all who live, work and play in DuPage County, and we will continue to use every available resource to prepare our communities for additional cases of COVID-19.”

Cronin supports governor’s emergency declaration; declares emergency in DuPage

On Monday, March 9, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker proclaimed a State of Emergency to assure that the state’s disaster response costs would be eligible for reimbursement through federal government programs and making State Disaster Relief Funds available.

On Monday, March 16, Cronin issued a disaster proclamation for DuPage County in response to the County’s first confirmed case of COVID-19.

By issuing a disaster proclamation, the County officially activated its Emergency Operations Plan and will continue to work with local, state, and federal partners to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.  Governor J.B. Pritzker issued a disaster proclamation on March 9 that would allow Illinois to receive federal funds to assist with the statewide response to coronavirus. Chairman Cronin made the proclamation after consultation from the DuPage County Health Department and the DuPage County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

“By proclaiming a state of emergency in DuPage County, we are simply continuing the next phase of our response to the coronavirus,” Cronin said. “This proclamation provides an avenue to access additional funding for planning and response efforts. We want to assure residents we are in daily contact with the DuPage County Health Department and the DuPage County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, as well as other local, state and federal agencies to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on our community. It is vitally important that we take this situation seriously, that we rely on data and best public health practices as we provide guidance to our residents.”

Governor shuts down bars, restaurants

On Sunday, March 15, Gov. JB Pritzker ordered all Illinois bars and dine-in restaurants to close in light of the threat of the COVID-19 Coronavirus. The temporary closure begins at the end of the business day Monday, March 16 and continues through Monday, March 30. Yes, that includes St. Patrick’s Day, to the distress of the owners of many establishments.

Delivery, drive-thru and curbside pick-up service will still be allowed.

Pritzker made the announcement during his daily update on COVID-19 in the state. He went on to say there are now 93 cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the state. That is 29 new cases since Saturday’s announcement. Those cases include the two announced in Sangamon County Saturday night. New counties impacted are Champaign, Clinton, Sangamon, Whiteside, and Winnebago counties. Other locations with cases include Chicago and Cook, Cumberland, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, St. Clair, and Woodford counties. 


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