In early September, the coronavirus (COVID-19) risk level in Lake County changed from blue to orange on the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) County Level Risk Metrics Map. An orange designation indicates warning signs of increased COVID-19 risk in the community.
“Recent investigations by our Communicable Disease team show increases in cases linked to private gatherings,” said Dr. Sana Ahmed, Medical Epidemiologist at the Health Department. “Remember, don’t let your guard down just because you are around people you trust—your friends, co-workers, and even family members. Take precautions every single time you are with others who don’t live in your household.”
Public health officials urge everyone to take action to slow the spread of COVID-19 by following the 3 Ws every day:
Wash your hands
Watch your distance
Help reduce your risk and do your part to protect others by following safety guidelines:
Guide to going out: grocery shopping, banking, running errands, recreational activities, returning to work/school (CDC)
Homemade masks - no sewing required (CDC)
How to grocery shop (Illinois Department of Public Health)
How long coronavirus can live on surfaces - graphic (New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet & Business Insider)
19 questions about masks, answered (The Guardian)
Lake County is using contact tracing to help control the spread of the coronavirus and keep you, your family, and your community safe.
Contact tracing involves identifying people who have an infectious disease (in this case, COVID-19) and the people they came in contact with and working with them to interrupt disease spread. This includes asking people with COVID-19 and their contacts to voluntarily quarantine at home.
Contact tracing is a widely used public health practice. It has been used for many years to help stop the spread of infectious diseases. In fact, if you have ever had a child at school with an outbreak of lice or strep throat, you have probably encountered a small-scale version of contact tracing. The goal of contact tracing is to be able to notify people who may have been exposed so they can halt the spread of infection.
Contact tracing is a voluntary practice and you can choose what information you share. Participating in the contact tracing process is one of the most effective ways we can help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Any information shared with a contact tracer is kept confidential. By providing information on your symptoms and when they started, where you have been, and who you have seen, public health staff can help you know how to protect your loved ones and help others protect themselves. Your personal information is not shared with others when they are notified that they may have been exposed.
Contact tracing is vital in stopping the spread of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases. Time is crucial in contact tracing. As more people come in contact with the infected person, the risk of spread increases. By expanding contact tracing, we can reduce the number of people who are unknowingly passing on COVID-19 to others.
Call 911 if you have a medical emergency: Notify the operator that you have or think you might have COVID-19. If possible, put on a face mask before medical help arrives.
Anyone can get tested: Community-based testing sites are now open to all individuals, regardless of symptoms or other criteria. No appointment, doctor referral, or insurance is needed at state-operated drive-thru sites and testing is available at no cost to the individual.
Expert understanding of coronavirus transmission is evolving. Research shows that four factors most likely play a role in spreading the virus:
Contact your healthcare provider or call the Lake County Health Department’s Communicable Disease program at 847-377-8130 for guidance on quarantine and testing.
Symptoms typically develop 2–14 days after exposure to the virus. A list of COVID-19 symptoms can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. Some people with COVID-19 may have no symptoms at all and may still be able to spread the virus to others.
Illinois has launched Call4Calm, a free emotional support text line for Illinois residents experiencing stress and mental health issues related to COVID-19. To speak with a mental health professional, text “TALK” or “HABLAR” (for Spanish) to 552020.
Senior Help Line, Illinois Department of Aging:
This is a difficult time. If you need to talk to someone, help is a phone call or text away, completely confidential, and free. Clicking the button below takes you to the Illinois Department of Human Service's round-up of who you can contact to get assistance in a variety of situations.