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The original item was published from 3/13/2020 12:02:07 PM to 3/13/2020 1:25:31 PM.

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Health Department News

Posted on: March 13, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Health Department Issues New Guidance to Minimize COVID-19 Spread

Following the leadership of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and State of Illinois, the Lake County Health Department is issuing new recommendations to slow community spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). These recommendations include community interventions such as cancelling large events and social distancing, which are measures to reduce social contact to help prevent the spread of illness while minimizing disruption to people’s lives.

“We want to reassure residents that currently, there is no evidence of community transmission of COVID-19 in Lake County. We do, however, expect to see more cases of COVID-19 in our communities,” said Lisa Kritz, Director of Prevention for the Lake County Health Department. “Our priority is protecting the health and safety of all who live, work, and play in Lake County, and we are taking an aggressive approach to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. By acting now, we all can help prevent illness and protect one another.”

“We recognize each of our communities is unique and jurisdictions need to consider tailoring their mitigation strategies to their characteristics and population,” said Tim Sashko, Lake County Board of Health President. “However, these new recommendations provide common-sense steps every community can take now to reduce the spread of COVID-19.”

In agreement with the State of Illinois and the CDC’s Mitigation Strategies for Communities, and in close collaboration with the Lake County Government, the Lake County Health Department is issuing the following guidance:

Community Events

  • Community events of 250 people or more should be cancelled 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 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.


  • At this time, the Lake County Health Department does not recommend school cancellation. The decision to cancel will be determined by individual school districts. School administrators and faculty should make responsible decisions, guided by recommendations from the CDC and the State, in the best interest of the health and safety of their students and families. Please refer to the CDC’s Considerations for School Closure guide.
  • Schools should not hold large assemblies or sporting events with 250 or more attendees.
  • Schools should consider other social distancing practices such as restricting access to school buildings to essential personnel, limiting field trips and inter-school interactions, staggering schedules to reduce mixing (e.g., stagger recess, entry/dismissal times), and should plan for digital and distance learning.
  • The Lake County Health Department has shared additional evidence-based recommendations directly with school district superintendents.

Businesses and Workplaces

  • Businesses should take advantage of teleworking capabilities. Every business that can have employees work remotely should consider doing so immediately.
  • For businesses that cannot have employees work remotely, employers should take proper precautions to keep individuals safe in the workplace. Remind staff to stay home when sick, consider a plan for teleworking where feasible, remain flexible on leave policies, and promote robust mitigation approaches such as thorough hand washing, cleaning, and offering hand sanitizer.

Vulnerable Populations

Early information out of China, where COVID-19 first started, shows that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness. This includes older adults and people of all ages with serious chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes.

  • Individuals who fall into these categories should avoid crowds, limit close contact with others, and wash your hands often to further reduce your risk of being exposed.
  • Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
  • Long-term care facilities in Lake County should implement measures following the guidance of the Illinois Department of Aging Immediate AAA Guidance on Congregate Settings, and IDPH Long-Term Care Facilities Guidance to protect their residents.

“Our Health Department has a dedicated team of staff working night and day to protect the health of our residents,” said Tim Sashko. “We ask all people to prepare and stay healthy. Continue using everyday preventive actions—washing hands frequently, disinfecting commonly touched surfaces, covering coughs and sneezes, staying home when you are sick, and avoiding contact with sick people.”

Visit for updates on COVID-19 in Lake County and to sign up for the Lake County Health Department’s COVID-19 email newsletter.

Utilize the Illinois Department of Public Health COVID-19 hotline and website to have any questions answered or to report a suspected case: call 1-800-889-3931, email [email protected], or visit

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