PRINCETON — The Bureau, Putnam, Marshall County Health Department is going to start reporting COVID-19 recoveries.
This will be a new number added in the daily reports sent out by the health department releasing the number of new cases.
Laurie Geuther, the health department’s director of nursing, said public health officials have realized the importance of relaying this information to the community and will now do so. The recoveries recorded will be a 15-day count after the person tested positive.
“While most people do recover in 14 days, there are some individuals who take longer to recover,” Geuther said. “Recovery is different for everyone. There is such a wide variability and we're learning as we go, but we also realize the importance of (recoveries) for the community to be aware.”
Reporting of asymptomatic cases
Since the outbreak, people have wondered why the Bureau, Putnam, Marshall County Health Department does not report asymptomatic cases, while other area health departments do. Geuther’s reasoning for this is that putting that number out “gives a false sense of security” and the information changes in some cases.
“We’re not going to do that one,” she said. “It’s a wide-spectrum of illness.”
Geuther said there’s been cases where people show no symptoms when getting tested, and then develop a loss of taste and smell two days later.
“This is a novel virus. It’s new to all of us and the scientists and to everyone. It’s not that the guidance changes or people don’t know what they’re doing, it’s that as we learn more, we become wiser,” she said.
Misconceptions about the virus
Geuther said one of the biggest misconceptions is that this virus is "no big deal."
“While that may be true for one individual, it’s certainly not been true for everyone. You can’t make that decision for other people, so wear your masks,” she said.
As public health officials work tirelessly to mitigate so that schools can reopen and people can go back to having some semblance of a social life, they are also watching the numbers of positive cases increase daily.
Geuther said locally, there are currently some work place outbreaks at manufacturing and growing facilities. Some restaurants in the area have also publicly reported cases at their establishments. Geuther noted that with restaurants, however, if an employees tests positive, the establishment shuts down for a period of time, where that’s not the case at other facilities where outbreaks are happening.
COVID outbreaks are also happening locally in Hispanic communities where the cases have been traced back to family gatherings.
Geuther said social activities at bars and among the young population are also being discussed on conference calls with Illinois Department of Public Health.
Keeping wearing the mask
Geuther encourages people to continue wearing masks when in public and stay six-feet apart from others, as these are the only preventative methods in place at this time.
“The best thing I can tell you about COVID, when you go outside in the winter and you can see the vapor from your breath, it’s no different in the summer, we just can’t see it, but it’s there,” she said. “That’s exactly why we wear a mask.”