ALEDO — The Mercer County Health Department on Friday announced the third resident from Mercer County to test positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus). The case is a female between the ages of 60-80. Due to federal privacy restrictions, release of any additional information on this case is prohibited. Public health officials are identifying and contacting all close contacts of this case.

“The Mercer County Health Department Communicable Disease Prevention Department is following all protocols established by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in managing this case,” said Carla Ewing, administrator. ““Mercer County Health Department has informed the public over the past few weeks that this virus is community spread. The IDPH and CDC have given guidance that we have passed on to try to minimize what we would see in Mercer County. We continue to encourage all of our residents to practice the IDPH guidelines and the stay at home executive order provided over the past several weeks to aide in stopping the spread of the virus.”

Those guidelines from IDPH (http://www.dph.illinois.gov)are as follows

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.   If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick with respiratory symptoms.

• Stay home when you are sick.

• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

• Social Distance from others at least 6 feet.

As a reminder per the CDC (www.cdc.gov) , older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at a higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness. It is especially important for individuals in these categories to adhere to the guidelines.

As a reminder, most healthy people who get the virus will have mild symptoms and can recover at home.

If you think you have COVID-19, follow these steps from IDPH:

• Stay home except to get medical care and separate yourself from others and animals in your home.

• Call ahead before visiting your doctor.

• Wear a facemask when around others. If you are unable to wear a facemask, then people who live with you should not be in the same room with you or they should wear a facemask if they enter your room.

• Cover your coughs and sneezes.

• Avoid sharing personal household items.

• Wash your hands often.

• Clean all high touch surfaces daily

• Monitor your symptoms. Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (e.g. difficulty breathing.) by calling your health care provider. They will direct you to where you should be evaluated and decide if testing is needed.

For latest guidance, call the IDPH COVID-19 Hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email dph.sick@illinois.gov.