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Interview with Barbara Jeffers MPH – Executive Director Kane County Health Department Answers Our Questions Regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Barbara Jeffers MPH – Executive Director Kane County Health Department

Fox Valley Magazine:  When did Kane County have their first reported case of COVID-19?

Barbara Jeffers:  March 9, 2020.

 

Fox Valley Magazine: If a person thinks they might be infected, what should they do?

Barbara Jeffers: If you think you may have been exposed to the virus immediately begin to monitor your symptoms for persistent cough, fever and shortness of breath for 14 days.   If you think you have the virus DO NOT go into the Emergency Room nor your doctor’s Office.  Call ahead to get guidance on the actions you should take.  Not entering the health care settings minimizes the exposure to others in the waiting area as well as the health care workers. Check the Kane County Health Department’s website for details on exposure and isolation instructions.  www.kanehealth.com

 

Fox Valley Magazine: How does the Kane County Health Department respond to local cases?

Barbara Jeffers: We at the Kane County Health Department are responsible for monitoring persons who test positive for the COVID-19 virus, as well as identify those who may have been exposed.   It is our responsibility to provide the necessary information to regarding exposure, isolation and quarantine.  We make information available to our community by posting valuable information on our website as well as press releases. We work with our health care professionals and other sectors within the community relative to the latest guidance provided by the Illinois Department of Public Health as well as the CDC.

 

Fox Valley Magazine: Why is social distancing the best method to slow and potentially eliminate the spread of the Coronavirus?

Barbara Jeffers: The virus spreads from person to person who are in close proximity of one another.  It can also survive on surfaces.  If we practice social distancing it minimizes the spread from person to person, and minimizes persons from leaving it on surfaces.

 

Fox Valley Magazine. Why are using sanitizers and practicing good hygiene also good measures?

Barbara Jeffers:  Practicing good hygiene is an effective way to reduce the spread of the virus by limiting the spread from person to person as well as not leaving it on surfaces.  

 

Fox Valley Magazine: What is being done to protect healthcare workers and first responders?

Barbara Jeffers: Health care workers are provided personal protective equipment, education on patient care, personal safety and recommendations from the CDC, IDPH as well as from the Kane County Health Department.  

 

Fox Valley Magazine:  Where can we donate personal protective equipment?

Barbara Jeffers: Kane County coordinates donations of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) needed in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.  Unused and unopened PPEs can be donated in the parking lot of the Kane County Judicial Center located at 37W777 IL-38, St. Charles, IL 60175. The drop off site will be open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays starting Monday March 30, 2020 through Friday April 17, 2020 from noon until 7:00pm.

 

Fox Valley Magazine: How else can we support our community during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Barbara Jeffers: Take a proactive role in social distancing, practice good hygiene as well as keeping your hands from your face.   Use the time during sheltering in place to phone old friends, elderly neighbors, and family members.  Do your part in protecting our health care workers, first responders as well as the public health workforce by stopping the spread of COVID-19.

 

Fox Valley Magazine: Even though the schools are closed, how can qualified families still get School District Meal Distribution?

Barbara Jeffers: Parents and guardians can contact their school district office for meal distribution programs.

 

Fox Valley Magazine:  Are there resources available for anyone feeling isolated or who might need help maintaining their emotional well-being during this time?

Barbara Jeffers:  There is much literature as well as resources available for those who are feeling isolated that is available on websites from mental health providers, wellness apps, telemedicine as well as your local library’s website.  Check with your employer to see if there is an Employee Assistance Program.

 

Fox Valley Magazine: What are the most common misconceptions?

Barbara Jeffers:  If you are asymptomatic you cannot transmit the virus. 

 

Fox Valley Magazine: How is the Kane County Health Department coordinating efforts with the State of Illinois?

Barbara Jeffers: There are regular briefings and webinars that provide the Kane County Health Department staff with the rapidly changing guidance and regulatory information from the Illinois Department of Public Health as well as the CDC.  

 

Fox Valley Magazine: Shelter in place has been extended til April 30th, any timeframe on when Kane County might reach it’s apex and when we’ll see the number of reported cases start to decline?

Barbara Jeffers: I cannot give a timeframe, however I am hopeful that social distancing will reduce the incidence of the COVID-19 virus in our community.

 

Fox Valley Magazine: Any projections on how many people in Kane County might eventually become infected with the Cornavirus?

Barbara Jeffers: No, I cannot make a projection.

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