St. Clair County announces first confirmed case of COVID-19 in a child

Editor’s Note: In an effort to keep the public informed during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have removed the paywall from this article. All listed data is pulled directly from IDPH and St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency. There may be discrepancies between the reported statistics. 
So that we may continue to bring you community news as it happens, click here to subscribe.

By: Angela Simmons, Weekly Editor

St. Clair County is reporting the first local case of a child having coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The male child is under ten years old, and no other information was made available per privacy guidelines.

“Having a child test positive really drives home that you’re not just doing these things for yourself, you’re doing this for the people that are vulnerable in our community,” said St. Clair Count Board Chairman Mark Kern.

The county is reporting 78 positive cases and three deaths with 139 tests pending, and 343 negative tests out of 560 residents tested. Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is showing St. Clair County as having 80 cases and two deaths.

The three county reported deaths are a woman in her 80s, a woman in her 30s, and most recently, a man in his 80s.

Today IDPH announced 1,453 new cases of COVID-19 in Illinois, including 33 additional deaths. Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 10,357 cases, including 243 deaths, in 68 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years.

IDPH Dr. Ngozi Ezike said she had a simple plea for Illinoisans to “continue to stay at home. This will help Illinois flatten the curve, but we all must do this.”

St. Clair County has the most confirmed positive cases of any county in Central or Southern Illinois.

Medstar EMS Ambulance Operations Manager John Nowak said that local hospitals are trying to prepare as best as they can, and EMS first responders are stressed, but also attempting to take as many precautions as possible to protect each other and patients.

Nowak also echoed St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency Herb Simmons in preaching social distancing and hand washing, adding “Every time you leave your house, you expose yourself to the virus droplets.”

During Governor Pritzker’s daily press conference, he thanked the Illinois state workers that are essential, like Department of Human Services case workers that are checking on children, and those working in veterans homes, as well as other front line positions.

Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs Director Linda Chapa LaVia said that there are no cases of COVID-19 in Illinois veterans homes, however an employee at the Prince Home in Manteno, a center that aids homeless veterans, has tested positive.

Pritzker asked “For 37 years, the month of April has been recognized as National Child Abuse Awareness Month in the United States. Because of the current circumstances, we have a harder time bringing the traditional amount for awareness to this important concern, but in this moment of heightened social isolation and stress, two of the key factors for the risk of child abuse, it is so important that all of us pay attention. Every child deserves a healthy childhood- to live in a nurturing loving home free from abuse and neglect. Even during these times of social distancing and shelter in place, there are still simple things that we all can do to keep children safe and to keep our communities strong. Text or call a neighbor who is struggling, offer to pick up groceries for a family and leave them on their front porch, share tips for overcoming parenting challenges on social media. In these stressful uncertain times, reach out to let families that may live in crisis know that they’re not alone, and that there is help available. “

For all personal protective equipment (PPE) donations, email PPE.donations@illinois.gov. For health questions about COVID-19, call the hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email dph.sick@illinois.gov.