While the vast majority of COVID-19 cases in Illinois have been confined to areas in and around Chicago and the Metro-East St. Louis area, more and more cases are being reported in Southeastern Illinois.
Carmi Doctor's Office Closed Temporarily
In Carmi, family practice physician Dr. Sahid Saqid has closed his offices temporarily after the spouse of a physician's assistant who works there tested positive for COVID-19. “She had been in contact with a patient who tested positive while working in St. Louis,” Dr. Saqib said. “Even before we learned about this, we had been taking all appropriate protective measures for our patients; using masks, gloves and wearing other protective gear. But because we have so many elderly patients, I decided to close my office out of an abundance of caution.” Dr. Saqib says he expects the clinic to reopen Monday, April 13.
Cases Getting Closer
On Sunday, March 29, a Saline County resident tested positive for the virus; the first confirmed case in that county. Officials with the Egyptian Public Health Department identified the patient as a 49-year-old male who is currently home and reportedly “doing well”. Officials added that the person had already been self-quarantined and followed appropriate guidelines prior to notification of the confirmed results. A health department spokesperson said it is thought the individual was likely exposed to COVID-19 through recent travel to another country for work. Local health officials are continuing to monitor the patient's condition.
Jefferson County Health Departments were notified late Thursday, March 26 of a positive case of COVID-19 in Mount Vernon. Officials identified the patient as a male in his 50's from Texas that was traveling through Jefferson County on Interstate-64 and became ill. The patient was sick enough to be hospitalized, officials said, and currently being treated locally. The Jefferson County Health Department has since started the process of notifying all known contacts the man had within the county, which were considered lower risk due to the limited contact.
Officials with the Illinois Department of Public Health now report 4,596 positive cases across the state with 65 deaths. So far, 27,762 individuals have been tested for the virus. Southern Illinois counties with confirmed cases of the virus include Jackson with 3, Williamson, 1, Franklin 2 and Cumberland 1. Counties in Indiana that border Southeastern Illinois are also reporting positive cases of the virus. These numbers take on more significance due to the number of Southern Illinois residents who travel into the Hoosier state for employment. Local Southwestern Indiana counties with confirmed cases include: Gibson with 4, Vanderburgh, 17, Posey, 3, Warrick 8 and Knox, 2.
For the rest of the story, check out this week's Navigator.