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COVID-19 Has Not Affected Nursing Homes In Champaign County, Officials Say

URBANA – Of the 91 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Champaign County as of Thursday, roughly a third are still active cases. Four people have died, six are currently hospitalized and the remaining 56 have recovered.

Nursing homes across the nation and in other parts of Illinois have been affected by COVID-19 outbreaks. But so far, none of the cases in Champaign County have involved staff or residents of nursing homes or long-term care facilities, according to Champaign-Urbana Public Health Administrator Julie Pryde.

Pryde said that in early March, her agency reached out and advised long-term care facilities to implement stringent guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The guidance, she says, went beyond what was recommended at the time by the state’s public health department and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We just talked to them about the importance of this, that this is based in science, and that this is how the virus is going to get into the places,” Pryde said. “And they were absolutely amazing. They really stepped up.”

The C-U Public Health District (which provides public health services throughout Champaign County) reaches out to local facilities on a regular basis, Pryde said, to make sure they have what they need to keep staff and residents safe and to offer additional personal protective equipment.

Pryde said she has not yet looked into the data to see if COVID-19 has affected health care workers in Champaign County, but plans to do so.

None of the cases in Champaign County have involved inmates or staff at the county jail or sheriff’s office, according to Sheriff Dustin Heuerman.

He said his office has been working with local law enforcement agencies to reduce new jail bookings, in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

One approach involves issuing “notice to appear” tickets whenever possible to people who commit nonviolent crimes.

Follow Christine on Twitter: @CTHerman

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Christine Herman

Christine Herman is a Ph.D. chemist turned audio journalist who covers health for the Illinois Newsroom. Her reporting for Illinois Public Media/WILL has received awards from the Illinois Associated Press Broadcasters Association, the Public Media Journalists Association and has reached both regional and national audiences through WILL's health reporting partnership with Side Effects Public Media, NPR and Kaiser Health News. Christine started at WILL in 2015.

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