The Lake County Board Chair, Sandy Hart, signed a disaster proclamation on March 13, 2020, a proactive measure that will allow Lake County to access additional state and federal funding and resources for coronavirus (COVID-19) response efforts. The proclamation follows a recommendation by the Lake County Board of Health at its March 12 executive board meeting, as well as a request by some Members of the Board on March 11.
On Wednesday, four Board Members, Dick Barr of Round Lake Beach, Michael Danforth of Barrington, Michael Rummel of Lake Forest and Diane Hewitt of Waukegan issued a statement requesting a heightened response to the pandemic virus that saw it’s first case in Lake County this week.
Citing data that shows adding “Social Distancing” to the recommended response can slow the hyperbolic increase in the disease’s spread, limit the demand on health care facilities and reduce fatalities, Barr called for the County to “lead by example”, calling for a heightened response to protect our residents and businesses of Lake County, and implementing a policy of Social Distancing. “We have evidence going back to the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 that shows Social Distancing can drastically limit and slow the spread of a disease,” said Barr.
The proclamation is a procedural step that will ensure the County is able to access the resources, equipment and personnel needed to address changing circumstances. This is particularly necessary should the number of COVID-19 cases rise and the demands on County staff and partners continue to increase.
“I strongly support the proclamation”, said Barr. “This [proclamation ] will allow us to open up avenues of financial support from the state and the federal government. I have been talking closely with the White House and Small Business Administration to identify how we can get not just healthcare help, but also help for our local, small businesses who have been struggling in the wake of the outbreak.”
All Lake County government offices currently remain open, and Lake County has a contingency planning team in place that is closely monitoring the fast-changing COVID-19 situation. To ensure the safety of the community and Lake County government staff, Lake County will be following the guidelines issued by the Lake County Health Department to minimize COVID-19 spread. This includes:
- Postponing and canceling large-scale events
- Considering the cancellation of upcoming public meetings, including Lake County Board Committee meetings
- Encouraging social distancing in the workplace
- Exploring teleworking options for Lake County government staff
- Limiting non-essential work travel
“Our highest priority is to ensure the health and safety of Lake County employees and their families, and residents,” said County Administrator Gary Gibson. “This is a dynamic situation, and our staff is working tirelessly to stay up to date with the most current information and make informed decisions to minimize the spread of COVID-19.”
Everyone has a role to play in getting ready and staying healthy. Residents are recommended to practice social distancing and follow new guidelines issued by the Lake County Health Department:
- Community events of 250 people or more should be canceled or postponed until May 1. This includes personal and social events, and those with large spectator crowds, such as concerts and sporting events
- For events with less than 250 people, residents should closely consider who is likely to attend the event and, if it includes vulnerable populations, strongly consider cancelling. Vulnerable populations include older adults and people of all ages with serious chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes
- Residents should use good judgment about attending events in their own communities
- View the complete guidelines issued by the Lake County Health Department
Residents also should remember the 3 C’s – clean, cover, and contain to prevent the spread of illness.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects
- Cover cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
- If no tissue is available, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands
- Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
The Lake County Board and Health Department are closely monitoring the fast-changing outbreak of COVID-19 and will continue to post updates at lakecountyil.gov/coronavirus. Residents are also encouraged to sign up for the Lake County Health Department’s COVID-19 newsletter.
For general questions about COVID-19, call the Illinois Department of Public Health hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email email@example.com.