Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

(October 30, 2020, Aledo, IL) The Mercer County Health Department (MCHD) today announces that Mercer County remains on warning level risk for COVID-19 for the third week in a row. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) uses numerous indicators when determining if a county is experiencing stable COVID-19 activity, or if there are warning signs of increased COVID-19 risk in the county. A county is considered at the warning level when at least two IDPH data metrics triggers a warning. Mercer County reached warning level in two areas:

• New case positivity (If there are more than 50 new cases per 100,000 people in the county, this triggers a warning.) Mercer County is currently at 314/100,000 (up from 231/100k from last week).

• Test positivity percentage (This metric indicates a warning when the 7-day test positivity rate rises above 8%.). Mercer County remains at a 12.6% positivity percentage for the 2nd week in a row.

Per IDPH, these metrics are intended to be used for local level awareness to help local leaders, businesses, local health departments, and the public make informed decisions about personal and family gatherings, as well as what activities they choose to do. The metrics are updated weekly, from the Sunday-Saturday of the prior week.

“Our case investigations increase dramatically this week, and the close contacts associated with those cases were significantly higher as well. While Region 2 has not been placed into tiered mitigation, it will only be a matter of time before we will be if we do not turn this trend around”, states Carla Ewing, Administrator. “It takes a concerted effort by all in our community to keep this from continuing on the upward climb.”

• 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.

• Wear a face covering

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 .