Four days after Fayette County became one of Illinois’ COVID-19 “warning” counties, it was announced that a day of drive-through and walk-up testing would become available for all county residents.
Fayette County Emergency Management Agency Coordinator Kendra Craig, in a press released issued on Friday, said that Gov. JB Pritzker announced that Fayette County has been moved to an “orange” county.
That designation, Craig said, “indicates there are warning signs of increased COVID-19 risk in the county,” based on information from the Illinois Department of Public Health.
The county received that designation, she said, because its test positivity rate and case infection rate the previous week.
On Tuesday, Fayette County Health Department Administrator Melissa Storck announced that the FCHD had been given permission to host an IDPH-sponsored drive-through and walk-up.
That testing, which is free, will be available from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at the health department.
In the announcement, the health department gave the following information:
• Simple nasal swab will be used for testing.
• Those tested will be called with results within four to seven days.
• There is no charge for the testing.
• Those being tested are asked to provide their insurance cards, though those without insurance will be tested.
• Residents do not have to have symptoms to be tested.
In announcing the “orange” designation on Friday, Craig said, “Individuals, families, and community groups can use these critical data to help inform their choices about personal and family gatherings, as well as what activities they choose to do.
“Since we are currently at an ‘orange’ level, you should consider: Should I still attend or host a gathering? Are there additional precautions I should take given my personal/family health risks? Should I wait to dine out or go to a movie?
Craig, who is also an employee of the health department, said the department is “working with our contact tracing efforts to make individual contact with persons that have been identified as a positive case or a close contact.
“In some cases, we have identified that church gatherings, funerals, small family gatherings and the workplace all have been the source for spreading the virus.”
She said that the coronavirus can be very serious in individuals with compromised immune systems or persons with chronic illness, such as high blood pressure, obesity, COPD, asthma, heart disease, kidney disease, cancer or diabetes.
“The percentage of persons in our community with one of these illnesses is great.
"Please protect them by staying home when you feel sick, wearing your mask, watching your distance and washing your hands,” Craig said.
The “orange” designation, she said, will have no effect on restaurants, bars or schools.
“However, the governor’s announcement on Aug. 26 on the new statewide mask policy for bars and restaurants should be followed.”
Two local restaurants posted on their Facebook pages that they would not require either their staff or customers to wear face coverings.
About those postings, Craig said, “We are encouraging all bars and restaurants to follow the guidelines that Governor Pritzer announced on Aug. 26 to wear masks over the nose and mouth and also patrons visiting these establishments. State officials are monitoring those not following the guidelines.”
Storck also announced at Tuesday’s county board meeting that the health department offers blood tests to check COVID antibodies. The out-of-pocket cost for those tests is $60.
For more information on coronavirus, visit https://www.dph.illinois.gov/countymetrics?county=Fayette.