GENEVA – Staff at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington is treating a McHenry County teenager who has tested positive for the first of two cases of coronavirus outside of Cook County.
The patient was in isolation Tuesday afternoon, said Kristen Johnson, the manager of public affairs and marketing operations at the hospital.
“As this virus continues to spread throughout our country and our state, we are prepared to provide care while maintaining a safe facility for our team members and visitors,” Johnson said in an official statement that was emailed Tuesday. “Preparing for potential epidemics and pandemics is not new and our expert infection preventionists, physicians and nurses are trained and ready for this.”
Hospital staff continues to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is work closely with local and state health agencies, Johnson said.
The male teenager from McHenry County, and a woman in her 60s from Kane County were confirmed as the first two cases of coronavirus outside of Cook County in Illinois.
Gov. JB Pritzker said during a news conference on Tuesday that neither case has any known contact with the previous 11 cases of COVID-19.
The total coronavirus cases in Illinois now stands at 19.
“We are reporting the first cases outside of Chicago, outside of Cook County, both the Kane County resident in her 60s and a McHenry County resident in his late teens,” Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said.
Details about the Kane and McHenry County patients’ location were not immediately available. Patients linked to each of the newly confirmed cases are isolated either at home or in a hospital and are reported to be “doing well,” Ezike said.
“Yes I know that people will be concerned that they see a youth within this new identification of cases,” Ezike said. “Although we do have younger individuals, based on what we’ve seen in other countries the virus appears to show more severe illness in older adults.”
Public health officials have asked people over tha age of 60 to be cautious of attending large, indoor gatherings, and recommend that people of all ages be proactive about addressing any underlying health conditions.
Pritzker has issued a disaster proclamation for Illinois, enabling it to receive federal funding and resources to fight the respiratory disease. The governor also chided the federal government for its delay in providing the chicago area with additional COVID-19 tests.
“Let me be clear with one thing: I am very frustrated with the federal government,” Pritzker said during Tuesday’s new conference. “We have not received enough tests. We have tests. We are testing, but we would like to be able to test anybody with signs that they need to be tested, anybody who like a test.”
In Kane County, local Health Department Executive Director Barb Jeffers is handling the situation, Lauzen said.
“This morning, I have good news and bad news,” Lauzen said during his opening speech to the board members. “First the bad news. The wake of this virus is going to go across the entire country. We already know that is what is actually going to happen. Tragically, people who are already impaired in their immune system – some people will die.”
The good news, Lauzen said, is, “We have been tested before.”
“The second good thing about this virus is, in its current state, its symptoms seem to be mild,” Lauzen said.
Quoting Franklin Delano Roosevelt from his 1933 inaugural address, Lauzen said, “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.”
Roosevelt was referring to “nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance,” Lauzen said, continuing the quote.
“In every dark hour of our national life, a leadership of frankness and of vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people which is essential to victory. And I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days,” Lauzen said, continuing Roosevelt’s speech.
Lauzen also quoted Friedrich Nietzsche, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”
The vaccine for the virus will not be available for months yet, so Lauzen advised people to take proper precautions – and that is hand-washing and not shaking hands.
“Our plan in Kane County is PDCCC: Prevent. Diagnose. Contain. Communicate. Calm!” Lauzen said.
Prevention is common sense precautions, such as hand-washing, not shaking hands and travel restrictions.
“Last night, I was able to thank the governor and compliment Gov. Pritzker for his team’s early decision on our behalf to maximize the testing effort,” Lauzen said. “It was very smart strategically.”
Contain is to quarantine or isolate those who have tested positive. But Lauzen said it was not appropriate to quarantine people on cruise ships.
He was referring to the Grand Princess cruise ship, which is quarantined off the coast of California. He urged people to remain calm, as the message, “Keep calm and carry on” was shown on an overhead screen.
“I think that this teaches the necessity that we should return to a culture that values cleanliness – physical and spiritual cleanliness,” Lauzen said.
“Government is not the only answer. It is a big part of the solution. … We all do our share. We’ll all be OK. … We are being tested right now to do our very best,” Lauzen said. “We have to be strong, do our part, and pray for those people who are suffering.”