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Illinois health officials: Mind the 3Ws — washing hands, watching distance and wearing masks

Illinois health officials: Mind the 3Ws — washing hands, watching distance and wearing masks

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The director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, attended Thursday’s Quad Cities COVID-19 press briefing Thursday and brought a three-letter message designed for the age of COVID-19.

WWW — washing hands, watching distance and wearing masks.

“We really want to stress the need to wash your hands. We ask people to continue to watch their distance in public – stay at least six feet apart indoors or outdoors,” said Ezike, the Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. “And we ask people wear masks when they are out in public and around people.

“Wearing masks is a way to protect each other and it can be crucial in preventing the spread of this virus.”

The message came on a day when a county just across the Mississippi River in Iowa saw its largest single-day increase of confirmed COVID-19 cases, and many of those infected are telling contact tracers they've each been in close contact with 10 to 20 people — who could end up with the virus.

It was the second time in as many days Scott County officials reported more than 30 new cases of COVID-19. Thirty-five confirmed cases were added Thursday, bringing the county’s total to 697. A total of 75 new cases were confirmed in Scott County over the course of Wednesday and Thursday. The county’s death toll stands at 10.

“After several weeks of declining numbers, we are continuing to see high numbers — which started last week,” said Ed Rivers, director of the Scott County Health Department. “Additional testing is not driving the spike in positive tests.

“And the majority of those tested are not asymptomatic. We are finding that many of those now testing positive are listing 10 to 20 close contacts that have to be traced. That means those who have been in close contact are considered a probable positive and are recommended to quarantine for at least 14 days.”

As disease experts like Scott County Health Department Board Director Dr. Louis Katz predicted, Iowa’s cases are on the rise. State officials reported another 758 new cases Thursday — a three-fold increase over the 227 new cases reported Wednesday.

The state now has 30,209 new cases of the novel coronavirus.

The Rock Island County Health Department reported 20 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, bringing the total number to 995. Currently, six patients are hospitalized. The number of deaths stands at 29.

There are now 1,690 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Quad Cities area.

Ezike stressed Illinois continues “to move in the right direction” and there are no plans to scale back from Phase 4 of the reopening plan, which started Friday, June 26.

“Right now, everything is in good shape,” Ezike said. “Rock Island County is in good shape, in terms of infection rates and the availability of beds and ventilators. The key will be to continue to follow the three Ws and keep people as safe as possible.”

Ezike also stressed the importance of contact tracing.

“Please, if you are called and asked for information regarding your health or contacts answer the questions,” Ezike said. “It’s vital we contact people and inform them of their need to get a test or start quarantine.

“Only health questions will be asked. You will never be asked for private information like your Social Security number or banking information.”

The mobile testing site in Rock Island has processed close to 800 tests in its first three days and will remain open through July 10.

The testing site is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day — except July 4 — and is located at the QCAA Expo Center, 2621 4th Ave., Rock Island.

Anyone who tests at the site will be notified of the results — positive or negative — via a phone call from 888-297-7208. If you miss the call, you can call back to that number.

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