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COVID-19 SURGE Information

COVID-19 SURGE Information

The recent surge in positive COVID-19 cases has made it difficult for our contact tracing team to reach everyone in a timely manner. We are asking for your assistance in managing the current surging situation. 

1. Limit exposures! The best way to do this is by staying home as much as possible.

2. WEAR a mask:

  • In public
  • At home if you have guests
  • If you are a guest in someone else’s home

3. Positive COVID Test?

  • Begin isolation immediately. Stay home for a minimum of 10 days. You should only go out on day 11 and if:
    • You have been fever free without the use of fever free reducing medication for 24 hours
    • Your other COVID symptoms are improving. Though some symptoms may linger for a period of time, there should be improvement before you discontinue isolation24 hour period. 


  • Seek immediate medical treatment if you experience:
    • Trouble breathing.
    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest.
    • New confusion.
    • Inability to wake or stay awake.
    • Bluish lips or face.
  • Notify people you have been in close contact with.
    • “Close contact” with a COVID-19 positive individual is defined as living in the same house as a confirmed or probable case, being an intimate partner of a confirmed or probable case, being a caregiver of a confirmed or probable case, or being within 6 feet of a COVID-19 positive individual for longer than 15 cumulative minutes within a 24 hour period.

4. Close contact? Begin your quarantine immediately, even if you have not heard from a contact tracer.  

  • Quarantine 14 days from your last contact with someone with COVID.
  • If you develop COVID symptoms, get a COVID test.
    • If the test is positive, please follow the instructions under #3.
  • The McLean County Health Department continues to support CDC’s recommend quarantine period of 14 days. However, the following options to reduce quarantine may be acceptable alternatives:


5. Employers: please work with your employees to calculate isolation/quarantine timelines. See #3 and #4 above for timeline details. If they are not contacted before their isolation/quarantine has expired, they will not receive a letter releasing them to work. 

6. Please try to limit calls to MCHD. When we spend time answering general questions on the phone, it takes time away from investigating cases.   Refer to the guidance provided by IDPH (the same guidance we follow). The IDPH resource page is at:

We are doing our best. Please be patient and help out where you can. Everyone plays a vital role in protecting and promoting the health of our community.

Currently, these are some of the questions that MCHD staff are frequently getting:

About Data

Why do the new cases reported vary so much day to day?

  • MCHD reports cases as we receive test results from various labs and testing sites. Depending upon lab and testing site schedules, some days we receive more test results than other days.

What is positivity rate, and how is it calculated?

  • The positivity rate is the percentage of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 out of the total number of tests that have been done. The cumulative positivity rate is calculated by [Total County positive tests] / [Total County tests] x 100

We also track 7-day positivity rate to be aware of current community spread. This is calculated by [County positive tests for 7 days] / [County total tests for same 7 days] x 100.

What does positivity rate tell us?

  • Positivity rate gives us an idea of how widespread COVID-19 is in our community. According to IDPH metrics, the warning level for community spread is a positivity rate above 8%.


What is considered a “recovered” case?

  • Someone is considered recovered from COVID-19 if it has been at least 10 days since their symptoms began AND they have no fever and are feeling well for at least 24 hours. If the person never had symptoms, they are considered recovered 10 days after their positive test was taken.

Where can I find all the local data since the start of the pandemic?


About Contact Tracing

If I get a negative test result, am I off quarantine?

  • If you have been identified as a close contact to someone that has tested positive for COVID you will be asked to complete quarantine through 14 days, whether you test negative or not. This is because the typical time between contact with the virus and the appearance of symptoms ranges from 2-14 days. The test only showed that you were negative on the day the specimen was collected.  

If I’m identified as a case or close contact, is there a number the health department will call from, and will they leave a message?

  • MCHD has multiple contact tracers, so there is not one set number that you will see. However, if you prefer not to answer calls from unknown numbers, we will leave a voicemail or send a text message so you know it is the health department trying to reach you, and we will leave a callback number.

What is considered a close contact?

  • For COVID-19, a close contact is defined as anyone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before the person began feeling sick until the time the patient was isolated


About Travel 

Should I quarantine for 14 days after I have traveled?

  • Some state and local governments may require people who have recently traveled to stay home for 14 days. It is not currently required here, but this could change.   Also check to see if your employer has policies in place that would require you to quarantine after travel.

Should I travel right now?

  • Travel increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. Before you travel, learn if coronavirus is spreading in your local area or in any of the places you are going. Traveling to visit family may be especially dangerous if you or your loved ones are more likely to get very ill from COVID-19. People at higher risk for severe illness need to take extra precautions.



About Preventive Measures

Do I need to wear a face covering if I can maintain physical distance?

  • Yes, this is recommended in public settings and gatherings. Maintaining a distance of 6 feet between yourself and others who are not from your household should be done in combination with other everyday preventive actions, including wearing a cloth face covering.



About Testing

How often should I get tested for COVID-19?

  • Testing is recommended if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or 5-7 days after you were exposed to COVID-19 or attended a large gathering.

What should I do if I got tested at the Fairgrounds a week ago and haven’t gotten my results?

  • The McLean County Health Department is not in charge of the testing site at the Fairgrounds.   The company that is providing the testing has stated that average turnaround time for results is 4-7 days.   If you have not received your test results from this site within a week you should contact 1-888-297-7208.


About Illinois Reopening

Will the state shut down again?

  • IDPH will be closely monitoring data and will work with local health departments and regional healthcare councils to move a region back to a previous phase in these circumstances:
    1. Sustained rise in positivity rate
    2. Sustained increase in hospital admissions for COVID-19 like illness
    3. Reduction in hospital capacity threatening surge capabilities
    4. Significant outbreak in the region that threatens the health of the region