First case of COVID-19 confirmed in Winnebago County

Published: Mar. 15, 2020 at 4:19 PM CDT
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During Governor Pritzker’s daily press briefing Sunday afternoon, The Illinois Department of Public Health confirmed a positive case of coronavirus in the Stateline.

The confirmed case is a man in his 60s and is doing well at home. He was transported by EMA to MercyHealth and was cared for there. Officials say he is from outside Rockford. There was no identified travel with this case, meaning this was likely a community spread.

"He had no other identified risk of travel or contact with another case of COVID-19 and met a clinical picture suggesting community transmission," Dr. Sandra Martell with the Winnebago County Health Department said.

At a press conference Sunday afternoon, officials with the Winnebago County Health Department say to continue practicing social distancing with 6 feet minimum. OSF says they have a virtual chat box on their website for any assistance too.

"Stay away, now this sounds kind of harsh, but its that six feet of social distance. Whether in line at the grocery store, at the workplace, or walking the dog outside, it's six feet," Martell said.

The City of Rockford temporarily halted the practice of disconnecting water supplies for non-payment as they know supplies are low and crucial. Mayor Tom McNamara addressed this as well as the case.

"I think everyone in our community was expecting today's announcement at some point, that first case, it certainly will not be our last case," McNamara said.

Voting, carryout and/or going to pick up and medicine at pharmacies is still encouraged. Officials say to try and vote early so you don't need to go on Tuesday when everyone else does.

This comes shortly after Governor J.B. Pritzker ordered bars and dine-in restaurants to

​ starting Monday and continue through March 30.

Here is the official press release from Governor Pritzker's office:


The Illinois Department of Public Health today announced 29 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) across Illinois. Five additional counties are now reporting cases – Champaign, Clinton, Sangamon, Whiteside, and Winnebago counties. Other locations with cases include Chicago and Cook, Cumberland, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, St. Clair, and Woodford counties.

“We are seeing the number of COVID-19 cases increase exponentially and in more locations across Illinois,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “At this point, it is best to assume that the coronavirus is circulating in your community and you should take the same precautions when interacting with other people that you would when interacting with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. This may seem like an extreme step, but this is how we reduce the number of new cases and prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed.”

Currently, IDPH is reporting 93 cases in 13 counties in Illinois. Cases have occurred in all age ranges and the number of cases that do not have a clear connection to travel or a known COVID-19 case is increasing.

Social distancing measures, such as working from home when possible, limiting the amount of time spent in the community, and trying to avoid public transportation as much as possible, will help reduce the number of people who become sick at any given time and the possibility of exhausting our health care resources.