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DeKALB – The DeKalb Health Department and Northwestern Medicine are teaming up to urge the community to take action against the viral surge of COVID-19.
In a joint statement sent Tuesday afternoon, the message comes amid increased rates of COVID-19 transmission, which in DeKalb County has reached 4,207 cases and 44 deaths, with a rolling seven-day positivity rate in the region up to 20%, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. It’s a virus surge being felt around the world, and on Tuesday, Gov. JB Pritzker also announced further mitigations statewide to stem the spread.
“Now is not the time to become complacent,” said Michael Kulisz, DO, emergency medicine physician and Chief Medical Officer at Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital and Valley West Hospital. “Please continue to take precautions including wearing masks, hand washing and physical distancing. Although difficult during the holidays, please avoid gatherings as it will hopefully flatten the curve and move us closer to getting the virus under control.”
The urgent message encourages community members to “work together and get back to the basics that we know work.”
Residents are strongly encouraged to stay home, and refrain from any non-essential activities. If you must leave to go out to work, or school, shop for groceries or get a COVID-19 test or flu shot — though the DeKalb County Health Department is now recommending all school districts go fully remote until Jan. 19 to curb continued spread — health officials urge residents to wear a mask consistently, covering your nose and your mouth.
“Over the next several weeks, it is critical that we come together as a community and take action to help reduce further spread of the virus,” said Lisa Gonzalez, DeKalb County Health Department Public Health Administrator. “We must all do our part to protect ourselves, our healthcare workers, and our community during this time.”
They also recommend avoiding close contact with others, maintain a social distance of six feet or more from those who don’t live with you, and wash your hands often with soap and water.
By current IDPH standards, gatherings in DeKalb County’s region are limited to 10 or fewer, and health officials Tuesday say holiday events that aren’t limited to just your household should be postponed or conducted virtually.
Health officials also recommend limiting travel, including non-essential travel such as vacations or trips to visit relatives or friends.
And, if possible, health officials urge residents to work from home.
“DeKalb County Health Department is calling on employers in DeKalb County to res-establish telework protocols for staff who are able to work from home and transition to curb-side services if possible,” the statement reads.
For more information, visit www.health.dekalbcounty.org/about/coronavirus or www.health.dekalbcounty.org/about/covid-19-dashboard. You can also call the DCHD COVID-19 Hotline at 815-748-2401, Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. or emailCOVIDemail@example.com .
Community members can also sign up for the newsletter online by visiting the DCHD website.