The McHenry County Health Department is continuing to investigate the contacts of two confirmed coronavirus cases in the county while also reminding the public they cannot test for the virus.
“As a result of the high demand for testing, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) laboratories has instituted a prioritization process for testing,” said Lindsey Salvatelli, Community Information Coordinator for the health department.
Before the McHenry County Department of Health (MCDH) can approve a test, the resident must first be evaluated by a primary care physician. A physician may then request the testing through MCDH.
If it meets the priority criteria then testing is authorized and MCDH will assist with finding a test collection site, Salvatelli said in a statement.
Commercial laboratory testing is starting to become available and the Illinois Department of Public Health along with MCDH are assisting healthcare providers in providing information to them.
Melissa Adamson, MCDH Public Health Administrator, said it’s critical that those who think they have symptoms receive an evaluation to determine if they meet the COVID-19 testing criteria.
“We are still in the middle of flu season, so we want to be sure that coronavirus tests are being used on people with a strong probability of having the virus and the potential for severe illness,” Adamson said.
“MCDH can only provide authorization for testing, through the IDPH laboratory, to a person evaluated by a physician and in consultation regarding specific criteria,” Adamson said.
For people not receiving authorization for testing through MCDH, commercial testing can be ordered by the physician.
MCDH will continue to partner with state health officials and regional health departments to monitor new cases.
Officials recommend all residents who are ill to stay home until they are symptom free and distance themselves from household members. Residents should also continue to use precautions in their daily routine to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 such as frequent hand washing, covering cough and sneezes, and social distancing.
Those looking for more information on the coronavirus can visit CDC.gov or mcdh.info. Those with general questions about COVID-19 can also call the IDPH hotline at 800-889-3931 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.