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Bars and restaurants to cease dine-in services, Champaign County has first Covid-19 patient

In the continuing battle to slow the spread of Covid-19, Governor J.B. Pritzker ordered that all bars and restaurants in the state closed to the public starting Monday through March 30. Delivery and drive-up services will not be affected in order for business to continue operations as best as they can.

The announcement from the governor came at the same time that the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District announced Champaign County's first confirmed case.

According to CUPHD Public Health Administrator Julie A. Pryde, the patient, a 50 year-old woman, received confirmation of positive test results last night.

It was revealed during the press conference streamed live on Facebook and other news outlets the Champaign County resident had come in contact with someone who was recently in Italy. She sought treatment at Carle Clinic earlier in the week after displaying the virus' signature symptoms.

The patient was not admitted to the hospital and went into self-isolation. It was made clear she was not a member of the University of Illinois community, neither student or staff.

After receiving the positive diagnosis, health officials will now trace the woman's movements and contact any individual that she may have been in contact with per the Center of Disease Control guidelines. Investigators will go back 14 days from when the symptoms appeared and look for people she would have been within six feet of for a ten minute period to notify them of possible exposure.

According the Illinois Department of Public Health website today, the infected count has risen to 93 confirmed cases in Illinois out of 1,025 tested so far. Nine hundred and thirty-two suspected cases have tested negative. Illinois has yet to record any deaths related to the viral infection.

Area medical facilities are ramping up for testing members of the community.

"We are seeing every patient that calls," said Doctor Sami Zabaneh, a specialist in Internal Medicine at Christie Clinic. "We ask patients call before we see them."

Medical professionals will screen callers for high-risk symptoms like shortness of breath, fever, coughing. They will also pay particular attention to those who are considered elderly in the 60 and over age group.

"We'll meet them in the parking lot and in the process of putting a tent there, probably coming soon," he explained. "We have special healthcare providers with protective equipment to do the testing in the parking lot outside the facility."

With the typical Influenza A and B strains still running their seasonal course and given the limited number of available kits at this time, the pre-screening process is important.

"Not every cough is the Covid-19 virus. But, we are vigilant," Zabaneh said. "We are emphasizing social isolation, it is very important because one patient can spread the disease to hundreds of people."

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