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Sangamon County Health Department Opens Phone Line For Coronavirus Questions

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The Sangamon County Department of Public Health is opening a phone line dedicated to answering questions about the new coronavirus, starting at 8 a.m. Tuesday. The number is (217) 321-2606.

The new hotline comes after a passenger on an Amtrak train that passed through Springfield later tested positive for COVID-19, the disease spread by the novel coronavirus.

No cases have been reported in Sangamon County, according to Department of Public Health Director Gail O’Neill. She encouraged residents to call if they might have come into contact with someone who is infected.

“We can go over an initial assessment with them at this phone number,” she said.

Health department personnel will answer calls between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has a phone line for questions as well - 1-(800)-889-3931, and an email, dph.sick@illinois.gov.

Since late February, four people in Sangamon County have been tested for COVID-19 and all have been negative, O’Neill said. Another four people who might have been exposed to the virus were voluntarily isolating themselves and reporting their temperatures to the health department. O’Neill said none of them have shown symptoms.

Her advice is similar to that of other public health officials: “Not to get too nervous about this. They need to think of their travel plans and where they’ve been. Stay home if they’re sick. And wash their hands a lot.”

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced four new cases Monday and issued a disaster proclamation, which will increase access to federal funding and allow for better coordination of response efforts. Officials have announced a total of 11 cases in the state.

The City of Springfield, and its police and fire departments as well as Springfield School District 186 released a statement Tuesday reassuring residents city and public safety officials are collaborating on their response to COVID-19. 

"We are closely monitoring the situation of COVID-19 and following up-to-date guidance from the Sangamon County Department of Public Health and the Illinois Department of Public Health while gathering insights from our local hospitals and medical community," the statement reads.

This post will be updated. 

Mary Hansen is a former NPR Illinois reporter.
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